Increasing boat sales sign of encouraging economic waves


SAN DIEGO, January 23, 2014  – The Progressive International Miami Boat Show February 13 through 17 may seem like nothing more than dreaming about a carefree day on the water enjoying fun in the sun, or a leisurely fishing trip. What the show is really all about is good news for the economy.

Recreational boating in the United States alone is a $35 billion industry and creates 338,526 marine industry jobs in manufacturing, dealers/wholesalers, services and supplies at 34,833 marine industry businesses.

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the U.S. recreational boating industry closed 2013 with a five percent increase in new powerboat retail sales, and another similar growth year is forecast for 2014. It’s a sign American consumer confidence is rebounding and investing more in boating, one of the nation’s most popular pastimes.

The surprise and perhaps the best news about the numbers: the vast majority of sales aren’t to investment bankers and rap stars buying luxury yachts. Smaller fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats under 26 feet increased sales 6.7 percent; ski and wakeboard boats saw an 11.7 increase in sales.  Boats in this size category cover 95 percent of the boats currently on the water.  Three-quarters of all boat owners have a household income of less than $100,000.

“The housing market has improved, consumer confidence has steadily increased the last two years, and consumer spending is on the rise—all factors that are helping to fuel stable growth for the U.S. recreational boating industry and further sales in 2013,” said Thom Dammrich, president of NMMA. “In addition, we’re seeing more and more Americans take to the water, as our participation numbers are at an all-time high—88 million Americans went boating in 2012. This indicates that with experience on the water comes an interest in life on the water and the subsequent purchase of a boat.”

Even more good news for those who support a “Buy American” philosophy: 93 percent of the boats sold in the U.S. are made in the U.S.

Boat Sales Infographic

So after several years of being underwater, people now have the confidence to stick a toe in the water, attend a boat show and see what manufacturers have to offer.

This is not an insignificant segment of the economy. There are 12.1 million registered boaters in the U.S.; 88 million adults participated in recreational boating in 2012.

Attendance at the shows themselves is also an optimistic barometer of economic recovery. Over one million people attend boat shows nationwide; 102,000 people attended the Progressive International Miami Boat Show in 2013 and this number should be exceeded in February at the 2014 show.

The Miami show, much like the Detroit Auto Show, is the premier show for the industry where new products and innovations debut. It sets the tone for the rest of the year’s shows. If you can’t make to Florida, upcoming shows including Baltimore, Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, St, Louis, Nashville, Louisville, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. See the schedule here.

Even if you’re not in the market, or simply want to admire the incredible craftsmanship and innovative new features on the big-ticket boats, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming big at the Progressive International Miami Boat Show and enjoying a little piece of the boating lifestyle for yourself for the small price of a ticket.

The Progressive Miami Boat Show runs Thursday, February 13 through Monday, February 17, in three locations: the Miami Beach Convention Center, the Sea Isle Marina, and Strictly Sail Miami at Miamarina at Bayside. For more information and tickets visit You can follow the show on Facebook at Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail, on Twitter at @MiamiBoatShow and on Instagram at @MiamiBoatShow

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more in the Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

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