John-Michael Donahue, vice president of NMMA, noted that many people started buying boats when the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“The boating industry is seeing an increase in the number of first-time boat buyers, attracting a wider network of Americans looking for an outlet to spend quality time with loved ones, helping drive industry growth,” he said.
Consumers spent about $595 million on new motorboats, engines, trailers and aftermarket marine accessories in 2020, according to NMMA. That’s a 20.2% increase from 2019, when they spent $495 million.
A total of 278,200 Ohio licenses were issued for kayaks and canoes in 2020, according to the ODNR, and 250,468 licenses were issued for powerboats.
But with all new boaters comes a need for safety. Schlegel said his company places great importance on water safety when a customer makes a purchase.
This week is National Boating Safety Week, and the ODNR has several tips for staying safe while boating.
According to Ohio statistics, drowning was the leading cause of death reported in four out of five boating-related deaths in 2020, and 84% of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets, according to the ‘ODNR.
If you are on the water, you should wear a life jacket. When selecting a life jacket, check that it is U.S. Coast Guard approved, suitable for the water activity and fits properly, the ODNR said.
The ODNR also recommends taking a boating course, which can be found on its website, and not drinking while operating a boat. Five Rivers MetroParks also offers information on boating safety and where people can boat in the Dayton area on its website.