Data Shows Strong Momentum in Boating Industry

New data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association showed a leap in manufacturing activity in May.

Seasonally adjusted wholesale shipments of outboard engines, personal watercraft, wake sport boats, and jet boats saw spikes ranging from 19 percent to 160 percent compared to April, when the pandemic forced many businesses to close across the country.

Data also shows what the NMMA calls “an unprecedented increase” in seasonally adjusted sales of PWCs, up 59 percent compared to April, and up 75 percent compared to a year ago.

“The new data coming out for May suggests that the worst of the pandemic impacts may be behind the boating industry as we’re seeing manufacturing activity start to pick up and an increase in sales in certain segments,” said Vicky Yu, director of NMMA business intelligence, in a statement.

“PWC retail sales surged in May, a high-volume category that account for about a quarter of total new boat sales annually and a popular purchase option for many first-time boat buyers,” Yu said. “This new data reinforces what we’ve been hearing from dealers and manufacturers nationwide. With summer camps, sports leagues, and vacations cancelled, there’s been a heightened interest in boating as a way to escape and enjoy the outdoors while social distancing responsibly.”

The NMMA expects to receive May data for the remaining retail sales and wholesale shipment categories next month.