Boating Industry Outlook for 2022
The boating industry has gone through an interesting couple of years, to say the least. Despite the economic upheavals and the COVID-19 pandemic, boat sales continue to rise, and first-time owners are getting younger. And with more and more people looking to purchase boats and sign up at marinas, boat dealers and owners can expect many more exciting developments in the coming months.
Of course, there will be many new challenges as well. Many of these are related to the continuing increase in sales and the ongoing pandemic. Even so, now is as good a time as any to explore the wonderful world of boating.
Boating industry trends in 2022
Here’s a look at some of the most significant boating trends that will affect the industry in 2022.
Fishing will continue to dominate
Recreational boating is undoubtedly a booming market, but fishing is still the most popular boat-related activity that people engage in. Some of your clients may remember the decline in 2019 after a steady increase of 2% to 4% from the previous years. In 2022, industry observers expect the trend to pick up and recover from the losses of the past two years.
Ethanol use will lead to more engine issues
Many cars use E15 fuel, which has 15% ethanol content. But this isn’t suitable for boat engines, most of which can use only E10 fuel. The problem is that the lower ethanol fuel is actually cheaper, which might compel budget-minded boaters to fuel up at gas stations instead of marinas. This could result in a steep increase in engine repairs this year.
More vessels will use diesel engines
Diesel engines will slowly become the standard for boats, given their lower prices and operational costs. There is also no risk of damaging them with the use of E15 fuel, which should sway more boaters in their favor.
More safety devices on the horizon
A welcome trend that we can expect to see more of in 2022 is the increase in the number of manufacturers adding safety devices to their vessels. Foremost of these are kill switches, which allow operators to turn off the engine immediately in an emergency or prevent an impending accident.
Other devices that we will see on more and more boats are “man-overboard” alarms. These handy gadgets automatically kick into action when someone falls off the side of the boat. Used in conjunction with kill switches, they can prevent serious accidents.
The rental market will continue to expand
Things are looking up on the rental front, with marinas and private owners enjoying a flourishing trade in fishing boats and yachts. The increase in boat rental is so vigorous that we can probably expect steady growth in this particular sector through to 2026.
Boat owners get older
Despite the increasing trend toward younger and younger first-time boat owners, the market, in general, will likely be dominated by an older crowd. The average age of owners is currently just slightly over 50 years old. Unless merchants find a way to make boats appeal to a younger demographic, this figure will slowly increase over the next few years.
Boaters become more diverse
Interestingly, the boater’s market is becoming more diverse overall. The fastest-growing segment is comprised of Hispanic buyers, followed by Asian buyers. Realizing this trend and acting on it could open up many new opportunities for your clients.
Boats will become more affordable
It is also worth noting that boats are becoming more affordable over time. Sure, they will always be a luxury, and large segments of the population still won’t be able to afford them in 2022. Nevertheless, prices are going down slightly in the sellers’ and renters’ markets, so more people will be able to enjoy this activity in the coming years.
As you can see, many of the trends predicted for 2022 are largely positive. From increased sales and rental opportunities to more affordable vessels and a more diverse market, the boating industry is in pretty good shape, all things considered. Still, factors such as access and the ongoing pandemic will continue to pose challenges. In any case, it seems that this early on, we can all look forward to an interesting year ahead!
About Merrimac Marine Insurance
At Merrimac Marine, we are dedicated to providing insurance for the marine industry to protect your clients’ business and assets. For more information about our products and programs, contact our specialists today at (800) 681-1998.