The tide appears to be turning for the recreational boating industry in all of North America.
The industry in Canada is seeing a 13 percent increase in new-boat and outboard engine sales, according to a report by the Canadian arm of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
The increase occurred between October 2011 and September 2012, compared with the same period the previous year, according to data released in the 2012 Canadian Statistical Abstract.
It’s the second annual report the group has done to analyze Canada’s boat sales, participation, demographics, the overall retail market, and imports and exports, as well as study economic factors that affect the industry.
“An increasingly stable U.S. economy, combined with a modest increase in Canadian consumer confidence, helped contribute to healthy growth within the Canadian recreational marine industry in 2012,” NMMA Canada executive director Sara Anghel said in a statement. “The 13 percent increase in new boats and engines signifies the industry’s recovery from the recession and creates momentum for 2013.”
The NMMA said the leading boat trend in Canada is aluminum pontoon boats, which had a 23 percent increase in sales during the period covered by the abstract. Another popular trend is sport jetboats, which had a 13 percent sales increase.
The NMMA recently reported that the tide is also turning for U.S. boat sales. A trend that’s likely contributing to increases in new-boat sales in the United States is the creation of innovative, more versatile and accessible boats that appeal to a variety of interests and budgets. These boats, which can pull tubers or wakeboarders and can be used for fishing outings, relaxing with family or entertaining friends, are growing in popularity.
The NMMA said Canadian manufacturers’ exports of boats and engines totaled $479 million in 2011, up 50 percent from the previous year, the first sign of significant growth in exports for the industry since 2009.
“Canadian marine manufacturers have begun to broaden their horizons for exporting beyond North American borders to help grow business,” Anghel said. “Australia, the European Union and the Middle East have become bigger trading partners for the Canadian recreational boating industry.”
In 2012, more than one in five Canadian households owned at least one recreational boat, the NMMA said. Boating is a recreational activity that many Canadians share, and more than half of those who went boating in the past year did so without owning a boat.