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NMMA reports boat sales at a 9-year high for 2017

Demand for large outboard engines helped drive growth in marine expenditures to $39 billion last year.

Demand for large outboard engines helped drive growth in marine expenditures to $39 billion last year.

Money spent on marine products and services again outpaced unit sales growth of new and preowned boats in 2017, with expenditures increasing 6.5 percent over 2016 to $39 billion.

Estimated total boat sales increased 4.3 percent to a nine-year high of 266,900 units in 2017, according to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Towboats and jetboats led unit sales gains in 2017, both up 8 percent. Personal watercraft was third with 5.4 percent growth, followed by high-volume outboard boats, which were up 5 percent, the NMMA said in its U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract released today.

Increases in dollars spent reflected growth in each expenditure category: new boats, preowned boats, new outboards, new trailers, aftermarket accessories and service costs.

Spending on new boats accounted for $13.1 billion of the total, up 10.3 percent from 2016. The preowned market accounted for $9.3 billion of total expenditures, up 2 percent from 2016.

Boaters in Florida led all states in terms of dollars spent, with $2.9 billion on new powerboats, engines, trailers and aftermarket accessories in 2017. Texas, Michigan, North Carolina and Minnesota rounded out the top five, respectively.

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