The marine industry saw its lowest export year in 11 years in 2015 and saw imports grow for a fifth consecutive year.
The strong U.S. dollar led to a spike in imports of recreational boats and marine engines in 2015. A 28 percent rise in value was driven by large inboard cruisers, sterndrive boats and personal watercraft.
Meanwhile, exports declined 18.5 percent in 2015 as the U.S. dollar reached a 14-year high in late 2015 and early this year against other currencies, according to new data released by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
The exported boats, worth $1.4 billion, represented the lowest level in 11 years. Imports reached $2.9 billion last year, primarily reflecting a $530.6 million increase in imports of inboard cruisers larger than 26 feet, the NMMA said in its new statistical abstract analyzing the recreational boating industry’s import and export markets in 2015.
Traditional powerboats — outboard-, inboard-, and sterndrive-propelled — made up 59.8 percent of the total boat export value and 72.8 percent of the total boat import value in 2015.
This year, the NMMA’s statistical abstract, which contains thousands of data points and insights on the boating industry, features a new format and schedule, with each section released individually as the statistics are available.
Next month, the NMMA will release reports on cruiser, watersport and offshore fishing boat sales trends; powerboat sales trends; and total industry sales by category and state.