NMMA released new data that found that the annual economic impact of recreational boating increased 36 percent, from $170 billion in 2018 to $230 billion in 2023. The industry’s contributions to the U.S. workforce also grew, with an 18 percent increase in jobs supported from 691,000 in 2018 to more than 812,000 in 2023.

The study, conducted by John Dunham & Associates, last fielded in 2018, measured the U.S. recreational boating industry’s total economic activity and the number of jobs and businesses supported.

“Recreational boating and fishing are a major economic engine in the U.S., and the latest economic analysis underscores the extraordinary growth and demand our industry has experienced coming out of the pandemic,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, NMMA president. “The profound impact the past few years have had on our industry cannot be denied as we’ve seen Americans seek out boating and fishing in record numbers, driving significant economic output and supporting tens of thousands of small businesses and nearly a million jobs.”

In addition to examining the overall U.S. impact of the boating industry, the analysis breaks down data at the state level. While the top five states remained the same from the 2018 study, their rankings shifted, with Florida and California retaining their first and second spots, respectively, Texas moved to the third position, with Michigan and New York rounding out the top five. Newcomers to the Top 10 states are Georgia and Minnesota; each saw upwards of a 120 percent increase in economic output and job growth.

New economic impact infographics for the U.S. and by state are available to NMMA members and industry stakeholders here. These infographics are helpful tools when meeting with decision-makers or for marketing the importance of recreational boating to local and national economies.

Photo courtesy Boat Shop/Lake Lanier