Our Big, Blue Boating World


Trying to get a handle on the global recreational boating market can be difficult, particularly because not all countries report financial data. According to the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, combined sales from marine manufacturing, retail and aftermarket sales in 2017 exceeded $120 billion. Boat and equipment manufacturing accounted for more than $60 billion.

The United States remains the world’s single largest market for boating, comprising 50 percent of the total economic impact worldwide. Some analysts believe the number is actually closer to 60 or 70 percent.

Beyond the United States, there’s a vast boating world out there, as the map shows. Because of space constraints, we were unable to display more than a handful of corporate logos and representative images, but each country has its own boatbuilders and, in more limited numbers, equipment manufacturers.

The global statistics are impressive. There are 100,000 companies in the worldwide boating industry, most of which are involved in refit, repair and maintenance services. Those businesses employ 1 million people. More than 100,000 work for boatbuilders and engine manufacturers across the 27 largest national markets. There are 30 million recreational vessels around the world, with outboard-powered boats accounting for 34 percent of the total. The world’s 30,000 marinas and harbors have almost 5 million slips and more than 1 million moorings.

This article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue.