In 2016, according to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, new boat sales in Missouri hit $339 million, nearly a 10 percent increase from the prior year.

Lake of the Ozarks marine dealers ended the season on the upswing, a trend that mirrors reports from across the country indicating the recreational boating market is growing. 

In 2016, according to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, new boat sales in Missouri hit $339 million, nearly a 10 percent increase from the prior year. Lake of the Ozarks is considered a top spot not just in the state but nationally for boat sales. 

While many are looking for boats that are family-friendly, such as pontoons and bowriders, there’s no shortage of buyers looking for everything from bass boats to more luxurious cruisers are selling. 

Dealers at the lake are reporting a strong sales season and a well attended end-of-the-season showing at the recent Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Boat Show held last week at Captain Ron’s. 

The Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association reported increased attendance was up  from 2017 for the fall boat show based on ticket sales.  

LOMDA Executive Director Mike Kenagy said one factor is weather. For boating and buyers alike, weather this season was good. Hot and sunny is a good combination for the boating crowd. 

LOMDA is made up of over 40 lake area marine dealers, representing boats dealers, marine accessories, docks, personal watercraft and other related industries. The association sponsors a spring and fall in-water boat show. 

Boating industry experts say the industry has been on a 7-year upward trend and they expect that to continue into 2019. 

How much money do boaters spend ? That’s a question BoatUS recently posed in response to recent government numbers that show recreational boating is a growing market. Taking into consideration all the related expenses, the economics of recreational boating is significant. 

According to BoatUS, it’s big enough that the U.S. Department of Commerce recently issued a release that shows it as a percent of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). For those who forgot their high school economics, GDP is the total value of all goods and services for final users (us). According to the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), from 2012 to 2016, outdoor recreation accounted for 2 percent of the entire GDP. While that may not sound like a whole lot, data published by BoatUS, indicated that 2 percent is more than agriculture, more than mining, and more than utilities in the GDP hierarchy. That 2 percent based on their figures,  translates into nearly $374 billion (pending updates).

"It's no surprise the industries that keep the economy humming often receive greater attention from policymakers," says David Kennedy, BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs. "Having strong economic data behind you is important when working in the halls of government," he adds. "It can ultimately influence legislation that makes boating better, such as improving boating access, providing budgets to maintain boating infrastructure or navigation aids, improving fishing habitat, and supporting boating safety efforts."

What's more, the outdoor recreation economy grew 3.8 percent in 2016, compared with the overall U.S. economy's 2.8 percent growth that year, according to BEA data. And boating specifically grew at an even faster rate. It had nearly twice the growth rate as outdoor recreation as a whole, according to information provided by BoatUS.  

One additional statistic cited in the BoatUS report shows that the competition between the RV industry and the boating industry is being won by boating and fishing, with RVs contributing $30 billion to the GDP while boating and fishing adds $38 billion.