Industry is on a roll, NMMA says

Trade group tells media a ‘friendly’ Trump administration and a surging economy could usher in a new ‘golden age’
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The NMMA says 95 percent of boats sold in the U.S. are manufactured in this country.

The NMMA says 95 percent of boats sold in the U.S. are manufactured in this country.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is touting the marine industry’s 2016 gains, emphasizing that it is one of the “few American-made industries.”

The NMMA expects that sales grew between 6 and 7 percent last year, with an estimated 250,000 boats sold as consumer confidence continues to climb. Dollar sales of recreational boats were expected to rise between 10 and 11 percent from $8.4 billion, the trade organization told national consumer and business media in January.

The NMMA predicts the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled House and Senate will help the largely U.S.-based industry continue to thrive. “I think [the new administration] is going to be very good for boating,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich says. “I think it’s going to be an administration that will be very friendly to recreation.”

As one of the few original “American-made” industries — 95 percent of boats sold in the U.S. are made in this country — recreational boating is seeing some of its healthiest gains in nearly a decade, a trajectory the NMMA expects will continue through 2018.

Annual U.S. sales of boats, marine products and services totaled $36 billion in 2015 and were expected to climb 3 percent in 2016, to $37 billion.

Annual U.S. retail sales of new boats, marine engines and marine accessories totaled $17.4 billion in 2015 and were expected to grow to $19.1 billion in 2016.

The group also identified top boating trends to watch in 2017 — a continued increase in sales of larger boats; a continued focus by manufacturers on introducing affordable and versatile boats to appeal to younger generations; increasingly intuitive marine technology; and a continued rise in a sharing economy around boating.

The recreational boating industry in the United States has an annual economic impact of more than $121.5 billion — a figure that includes direct, indirect and induced spending — supporting 650,000 direct and indirect American jobs and nearly 35,000 small businesses, the group says.

“With the U.S. boating industry having one of its strongest years in the last decade, and manufacturers saying, ‘We’re back!’ it’s likely we will reflect on this period as a golden age for our economy and our industry,” Dammrich said in a statement distributed to mainstream media.

“Economic indicators are working in the industry’s favor — a continuously improving housing market, strong consumer confidence, growing disposable income and consumer spending, and low interest rates all contribute to a healthy recreational boating market. Looking ahead, 2017 is likely to bring new dollar and unit sales gains on par with or better than 2016, and this trend will likely continue through 2018.”

The story was picked up by Bloomberg Radio across the country. Also appearing in national media was an article at Men’sFitness.com that included Discover Boating in its article “52 tricks to make everything better in 2017.”

No. 45 was “Take out a boat,” and it highlighted the boat-sharing economy and chartering as accessible options for readers while driving people to DiscoverBoating.com to find all of their boat rental, charter and class options in one place.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue.

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