Boat sales increase in Minnesota and the United States – Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — If you’re going to kick trailer tires and ogle the shiny new boats at the Duluth Sport Show next week, you won’t be alone.

And the word is, you better hurry and choose the model you want, otherwise it may not arrive in time for summer fun.

Boat sales continue to sizzle in Minnesota and across the United States, with near-record sales in recent years and higher sales expected in 2022 as more people hit the water to escape the bonds of the pandemic In progress.

This is the report of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the trade association representing manufacturers of recreational boats, marine engines and accessories.

Visitors view new boats at the Duluth Boat, Sport, Travel & RV Show at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. This year’s renowned Duluth Sport show will take place February 17-20.

Derek Montgomery / 2009 File / Duluth News Tribune

Supply chain shortages for raw materials and parts were a problem in 2021, including for Minnesota boatbuilders, but sales still hit 300,000 boats totaling nearly $50 billion at nationwide, the association noted. That’s down 5% from the record high of 2020, the first year of the pandemic, but still 7% above the five-year average.

These sales included everything from water bikes, like personal watercraft, which have grown in popularity with new entrants to the boating world; pontoon boats, whose popularity continues to grow; to the fully laden $100,000 bass and walleye boats now all but common on Minnesota lakes.

Minnesota ranked fifth in the nation in total boat sales at $1.1 billion in 2020, full figures for the most recent year available, with Wisconsin close behind in sixth place with $967 million. dollars in sales.

The shortage of materials has hit the boating industry as much as the automotive industry, slowing down production lines and severely limiting the units available for sale. Many boat dealers had few or no boats to show customers, and customers had to make deposits and then wait months to see their new boat.

“Most boat dealers say they will have units for sale at the show. … But we always hear that the demand is outstripping the supply,” said Chris Navratil, owner of Shamrock Productions, which produces the Duluth and La Crosse, Wis. boat shows.

Industry officials say manufacturing productivity is rising to meet demand for new boats, with boatbuilding output approaching pre-pandemic levels as supply chain constraints ease. mitigate.

“The pandemic has created changes in the way Americans prioritize their time, and boating is something they do with family and friends to escape stress on land,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, president of the association, in a press release.

family on boat
Boat sales in Minnesota and across the United States. explode during the pandemic. And thanks to supply chain issues, demand for new boats has outstripped supply in some areas.

Clint Austin / File 2013 / Duluth News Tribune

The shipbuilding industry and associated manufacturing accounts for more than 690,000 jobs in the United States, Hugelmeyer added. And boating has one of the highest economic impacts of any outdoor activity, reaching $689 billion in 2020, surpassing even RVing and backpacking for economic impact.

Boat sales in 2022 are expected to grow 3% or more from 2021 levels.

Recreational boating in the United States by the numbers

  • Annual sales of boats, marine products and services in the United States totaled $49.3 billion in 2020, up 14% from 2019.
  • It’s not just new boats that are being sold; an estimated 1.1 million used boats were sold in 2021.
  • Discover Boating, the industry resource center for those looking to get into boating, reports that traffic to the site increased 14% in 2021 compared to 2020, and 91% compared to 2019 , before the pandemic.
  • Approximately 95% of boats sold in the United States are made in the United States
  • It is estimated that 100 million Americans go boating each year.
  • 61% of boat owners have an annual family income of $100,000 or less.
  • 95% of boats on the water in the United States are under 26 feet – boats that can be towed by a vehicle to local waterways.

Source: National Marine Products Manufacturers Association

Highest boat sales by state, 2020

  1. Florida: $4.3 billion, up 28% from 2019.
  2. Texas: $2.4 billion, up 22% from 2019.
  3. Michigan: $1.3 billion, up 12% from 2019.
  4. North Carolina: $1.2 billion, up 24% from 2019.
  5. Minnesota: $1.1 billion, up 14% from 2019.
  6. Wisconsin: $967 million, up 22% from 2019.
  7. New York: $966 million, up 20% from 2019.
  8. California: $948 million, up 17% from 2019.
  9. Georgia: $921 million, up 24% from 2019.
  10. South Carolina: $859 million, up 20% from 2019.

Source: National Marine Products Manufacturers Association

States with the most boats

If you think you’ve noticed more boats on Minnesota’s lakes and rivers lately, you’re right.

California, Florida and Michigan may have more boats in total, thanks to larger overall populations, but Minnesota continues to lead the country in the number of registered boats per person. And it’s not even close.

According to, using data from the US Coast Guard and the US Census Bureau, the top 10 boating states, based on registered boats per 100,000 people, are:

1. Minnesota: 14,505.
2. South Carolina: 11,161.
3.Wisconsin: 10,444.
4. North Dakota: 8,809.
5. Maine: 8,397.
6.Michigan: 8,066.
7. New Hampshire: 7,077.
8. Alaska: 6,887.
9. Montana: 6,822.
10. Louisiana: 6,790.

Total number of registered boats

  1. California: 1.05 million.
  2. Michigan: 1 million.
  3. Florida: 922 597.
  4. Minnesota: 834,974.
  5. Wisconsin: 650,280.
  6. Texas: 624,390.
  7. New York: 529 732.
  8. Ohio: 413276.
  9. Illinois: 398,431.
  10. South Carolina: 383,971.
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