2020 U.S. Boating Statistical Abstract Shows Demand Continues for Cruisers, Watersport, and Fishing Boats

By Nicki Polan, MBIA Executive Director

The Cruiser, Watersport, Fishing Boat & Trailer Sales Trends section of NMMA’s 2020 U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, released in late June show the retail sales trends of new boats commonly used for three top boating activities: cruising, watersports and fishing.

Key insights from the report include:

  • Retail sales of new cruisers reached a twelve-year high in 2020, up 19.5% compared to 2019, due to sales gains both in sterndrive cruisers and outboard cruisers.
  • Sales of new boats typically used for watersports rose 12.8% in 2020, surpassing the 2007 sales level for the first time.
  • Increased sales of pontoon boats (up 17.3%), personal watercraft (up 8.3%) and inboard wake sport boats (up 21.4%) were the major contributors to the spike in watersport boat sales in 2020.
  • New fishing boat sales were up 10.3% in 2020, the highest annual sales total since 2007.

We knew sale were up, but these increases are unprecedented. Will this demand continue? Many say, yes – as the upcoming generations will value the benefits of the boating lifestyle. Others feel the demand will taper off as consumers return to their old spending habits. We shall wait and see, but in the meantime MBIA along with the MDNR and national organizations are working hard to welcome and educate new boaters to assure positive experiences.

A special “Welcome To Boating” feature is planned for our September 16 – 19 Metro Boat Show at Lake St. Clair Metropark. It will include stations focusing on Trailering, Launch Etiquette, Docking, Boating Laws, Safety Tips, Boating with Pets, and more. Many new boaters have never been to a boat show, and will come to understand the role they play in convenience shopping, education and entertainment. Mark your calendar. Whether you are a new boater or seasoned boaters all are welcome and we hope to see you there. Check out the details at www.metroboatshow.net.