Recreational boating is a popular leisure activity in the U.S. Over 87 million U.S. adults participate in recreational boating, using a boat for (sports) activities such as fishing and water skiing and/or to travel. The total value of recreational boats sold reached over 3.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. The greatest portion of this value came from sales of boats with a length between 36 and 45 feet. In total, 11.87 million recreational boating vessels were registered in the U.S. in 2015. These boats are classified into several categories: sailboats, personal watercrafts, sterndrive boats,inboard boats and outboard boats.
The number of boats sold annually by brokers in the United States has remained steady at around 30,000 units between 2012 and 2016. The pre-own recreational boat market was considerably larger with unit sales of around 950 thousand for the five years preceding 2014. Sales of jet boats, sail boats and outboard boats all seen sharp declines in the years 2008 and 2009. Although unit sales for these products are increasing, none of them have reached the numbers seen pre 2008.
Recreational boating was a popular activity among North American campers in 2015. During a survey of campers, 22 percent indicated that canoeing or kayaking was their favorite recreation activity and a further 13 percent selected either motor boating, jet skiing or water sports. It is also a popular hobby of affluent Americans, with 10.3 percent of U.S. household with an income over 200,000 U.S. dollars reported owning a boat in 2015.