Boat and engine exports break dollar records in 2017

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Imported boats, like this Jeanneau Cap Camerat 5.5, outpaced U.S.-built boats being exported overseas in 2017.

Imported boats, like this Jeanneau Cap Camerat 5.5, outpaced U.S.-built boats being exported overseas in 2017.

In 2017, recreational boat and marine engine imports were up 10.9% to an all-time high of $3.2 billion.

Exports of recreational boats, which accounted for 73.4 percent of all recreational boat and engine exports, grew 9.4 percent to $1.3 billion, according to new data released by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Growth was led by outboard and inboard boat exports which were offset by declines in exports of sterndrive boats, rowboats/canoes and “other” boats, likely PWC.

Exports of traditional powerboats were up 17.5 percent to $803.9 million in 2017 and accounted for 62.3 percent of total boat export value, the NMMA said in the boat and engine section of its Statistical Abstract, released today.

That increase was due to a weaker dollar, which made U.S.-built boats more competitive abroad.

For the 10th consecutive year Western Europe and Canada ranked as the top two export trading partners — it was the third consecutive year that Canada ranked as the No. 1 exporter of U.S. boats.

The U.S. remains a net exporter of outboard boats, sterndrive boats, and smaller inboard boats.

Boat imports increased by 8.3 percent, or $144.3 million, to $1.9 billion in 2017.

Although boat and marine engine export value rose in 2017, it was still outpaced by the value of imports, resulting in a deepened trade deficit for the fifth consecutive year. 

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