Exploring Boating Industry & Market Trends for 2023 (2024)

The boating market and industry have seen significant growth in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue in 2023.Innovations in technology and design have led to increased demand for recreational boats, and a growing interest in eco-friendly options has also contributed to the market’s growth. Manufacturers are also creating more energy-efficient boats to address challenges and give boating enthusiasts the best experience. On that note, here are the top 10 boating market & industry trends for 2023 you need to look out for.

Boats may appear at rest seasonally, but the industry is continuously in motion as it adjusts to the market’s shifting dynamics. As a result, the boating industry is expected to see an increase in sales and revenue in the coming year.

Major Spike in Fishing Culture

An age-old pastime, fishing is still popular with sailors around the world. Statistics indicate a 4.4% fall in fishing activity in 2019 compared to other years, albeit this loss has been gradual in recent years. Despite this, analysts estimate that boat sales will climb by 2% in 2023, making it an excellent time for boaters to purchase. Furthermore, many boaters will probably be eager to buy fully outfitted boats because fishing-related gear like motors and depth finders are anticipated to be in high demand.

Increased motor repairs

The boating industry regularly uses ethanol-based fuel, which typically comprises 15% ethanol, as a fuel source. Traditional boat engines, however, are not made to handle fuel that contains more ethanol than 10%.

E15 fuel, which has 15% ethanol, is frequently less expensive than other mixes with a lower ethanol content despite this. Boaters might therefore be enticed to buy E15 gas from stations. However, it’s crucial to consider that E15 can harm the O-rings in boat motors, which may need expensive motor repairs. E15 fuel was previously prohibited from being purchased during the summer due to regulations. However, because E15 can now be marketed year-round thanks to recent legislation, boaters should use caution when filling up their tanks. As a result, motor repairs will also increase as budget-conscious sailors fill up at a gas station instead of the marina.

The rise of diesel engines

Increased use of diesel engines is one of the vital boating market & industry trends in 2023.

Boaters’ concerns about using E15 fuel have decreased due to the move away from conventional gasoline engines, and experts anticipate that using more diesel engines will continue to grow in popularity.

They offer several advantages over gasoline engines, besides being more affordable, including improved fuel efficiency, longer lifespan, and lower emissions. Diesel engines are also preferred by boaters for their reliability and durability, which makes them ideal for long-distance cruising and extended use.

Higher focus on boaters’ safety

Boaters always put safety first, and new technology makes it simple to protect everyone on board. Boat owners are increasingly utilizing kill switches, which instantly shut off the engine in the event of an emergency or mishap.

By combining kill switches with “man-overboard” alarms, which can recognize when someone falls off, the future of boats and marine travel looks even safer. These devices function by attaching a kill switch to a person’s body with a cord. If the cord is tugged, as may happen if someone falls off the boat, the kill switch activates, shutting off the engine and preventing accidents.

The boating rental trend continues

The market for renting boats is expanding as more and more individuals continue to rent boats for their boating needs – be it fishing boats, yachts, or other kinds of watercraft.

Boats up to 28 feet are among the most sought-after rental options, and boats between 28 and 45 feet are also in high demand. Although, the market for boats longer than 45 feet is considerably limited. Tours, charter rentals, and day cruise rentals are also widely available. It’s a fantastic potential as the market expands; thus, by 2028, it’s expected to surpass $280.2 million in size.

Difficulty in accessing water

Access to water is one of many challenges which the boating industry faces in today’s globe. Due to global warming, many lakes are losing water, reducing the amount of water available for boating activities. Many regulated lakes are surrounded by privately held land, which limits access to the water and may require new lakefront property owners to wait for new boat slip licenses. To reduce congestion and the possibility of boat collisions, many lakes also place a cap on the number of boats that can be on the water.

Diversity among boating enthusiasts

Speaking of the boating market & industry trends in 2023, the list remains incomplete, without mentioning the average age of the industry’s customers. Boating has traditionally been a middle-aged hobby, with many people opting for other pursuits as they mature.

The average age of boating clients has risen and is currently just around 50-58 years. However, as per reports, boat rental and sharing trends are successfully bringing in younger boaters in their 20s and 30s.

The industry is also witnessing a more diverse range of customers in terms of race, age, income, and lifestyle. The boating market mainly caters to retirees looking for a leisurely activity on the water, while others may be young professionals looking for a thrill on the weekends.

Additionally, the industry caters to a diverse range of budgets, with boats ranging from small inflatable rafts to multi-million dollar luxury yachts.

Affordable boating trends

Despite the high price of boats, personal watercraft and boat rentals continue to be popular choices. Boats are now more reasonably priced – thanks to advancements in engine technology and more efficient production processes, with fuel efficiency playing a significant role.

This also includes a rise in the popularity of smaller, more budget-friendly boats, such as inflatable rafts, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. Many manufacturers offer more affordable versions of their larger vessels, with more basic features and fewer luxury amenities.

Focus on family-centric activities

Although family activities encourage the surge in boat sales and rentals, fishing may be the most conventional use of a boat. Families are looking for adaptable boats that can be used for various activities, and this trend is especially noticeable in the fishing, touring, and day-cruising markets.

Pontoons will rank among the most important boating market & industry trends in 2023 due to their adaptability as fishing boats and floating cabanas. They represent a significant source of income for persons in the manufacturing and sales industries. This is so that pontoons can be equipped with various amenities, such as high-performance motors and marine-sized freezers and appliances.

Marina Management Software

Investing in high-rated marina management software is essential to stay competitive in the constantly evolving boating industry. Automating daily tasks allows more time to focus on increasing revenue, and choosing software with a proven track record in the industry is essential.

With the boating market leaning towards automation and technology, investing in marina management software is a smart move for any marina, boatyard, or boat dealership looking to stay ahead of the curve.

Top-rated software management systems are designed to simplify operations worldwide for marinas, boatyards, and boat dealerships by using the latest technology at attractive pricing.

Read more about using marina management software here.

Well, now that you’ve reached this far down our list, it’s time we go through some key marketing trends that have taken the boating industry by storm in 2023:

Marketing Trends in the Boating Industry in 2023

Increased Use of Video Marketing

It’s critical now more than ever for the boating industry players to keep up with the most recent marketing trends as the maritime sector develops and new technology is introduced. The usage of video marketing is one trend that will continue.

Video is an effective strategy to connect and engage customers because 86% of firms already use it as a marketing tool, and 69% of people prefer watching short videos. By leveraging the power of video, marina owners can boost profitability and forge closer relationships with their target audience by producing captivating stories and imagery that capture viewers.

Robust Use of Data Analytics

The use of data analytics is another marina industry trend that boatyard folks need to pay attention to.

Marine businesses may make smarter decisions and get a competitive edge by using data to enhance marketing efforts and comprehend client behavior. For example, it can help companies:

  • Identify and target specific customer segments, such as boaters in the market for a new boat or looking to upgrade their existing one.
  • Understand customer behavior and preferences, such as the types of boats they are interested in and the features they value the most.
  • Measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, such as how many leads or sales were generated due to a specific ad or promotion.
  • Create personalized and relevant marketing messages, such as sending a boater an offer for a trade-in program if they have been searching for a new boat on the company’s website.

Leveraging the power of Social Media

Any modern marketing strategy must include social media, and the boating industry is no different. Marine businesses must remain on top of the newest social media trends to maximize their marketing efforts, whether employing influencers to forge deeper connections with customers or producing engaging content that promotes interaction.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter allow boat manufacturers, dealers, and charter companies to reach a broad audience of potential customers. They can increase brand awareness and attract new business by sharing images, videos, and product information. As per reports, 80% of marketers agree that edgy and witty content is one of the key mediums to attract younger audiences.

Social media marketing is generally more cost effective than traditional forms of advertising, such as print or television. It allows businesses to reach a large audience without breaking the bank, making it an ideal marketing strategy for small and medium-sized marine companies.

Understanding boating customers’ needs

For instance, customers expect their boats to withstand harsh conditions and perform well over time. They look for boats built with high-quality materials and designed to withstand heavy use.

Safety is also a top priority for most customers when purchasing a boat. They look for boats with safety features, such as emergency shut-off switches and life jackets. They also love to get the most bang for their buck when purchasing a boat. They look for boats that offer a good balance of features and price.

Lastly, customers are looking for more environmentally friendly boats as environmental awareness increases. They look for boats that use less fuel and have a lower impact on the environment.


To conclude our list of boating market & industry trends in 2023, we must bring to light the fact that there are several issues that the sector may deal with, including shifting leisure interests and environmental problems.

To overcome these challenges and give boaters the best experience possible, manufacturers focus on developing more opulent and environment-friendly sailing innovations while automating their daily operations with software.

With a solid track record of over 35 years in the industry, Dockmaster is a cutting-edge and adaptable solution trusted by marinas worldwide. From managing cyclical billing, meter readings, and storage to tracking revenue, fuel usage, and client movement history, Dockmaster streamlines all aspects of marina operations.

Upgrade your management by shifting to a software-based approach with Dockmaster – click to request a free demo and get started.

Exploring Boating Industry & Market Trends for 2023 (2024)
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