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Small Boats Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Product Type (Powered Boat, Sail Boat, Personal Watercraft and Others), By Application Type (Pleasure, Fishing, Defense and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2024-2032

Last Updated: June 24, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI103622



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The global small boat market size was valued at USD 31.93 billion in 2023. The market is projected to grow from USD 35.35 billion in 2024 to USD 84.05 billion by 2032, exhibiting a CAGR of 11.4% during the forecast period.

Boats are defined as vessels that are used as a means of transportation and for recreational purposes. Small boats can be categorized into sailboats, powered boats, and watercraft boats. These are different from ships in varied aspects such as design, construction, size, cargo capacities, operational zones, navigation technology, and many others. These boats are particularly found on internal waterways, lakes and rivers, or protected beach areas. With the increasing need for safety and security among people, the demand for such boats is likely to increase among police organizations such as marine or water police. Moreover, the demand for patrolling in water bodies is increasing owing to the growth in peoples’ participation in watersports and water adventure activities, which is expected to promote personal boat sales worldwide. Technological advancements and increased R&D investments are also creating growth opportunities for the market.

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the global boat market as lockdowns and restrictions led to manufacturing, supply chains, and consumer demand disruptions. Boat shows and events were canceled or postponed, affecting sales and promotional activities. However, there was a surge in recreational boating as people sought safe outdoor activities during the pandemic. As restrictions ease and consumer confidence returns, the small boat market is expected to recover gradually.

Small Boats Market Trends

Increasing Adoption of Advanced Technologies to Set a Positive Trend for Market Growth 

With technological progress, the marine industry has witnessed an increasing demand for technologically advanced features in different boat types. Technological developments, such as the introduction of quieter and cleaner watercraft, as well as the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology in boats, are expected to fuel the progress of the boating and marine industry. Also, manufacturers are focusing on installing advanced technologies such as smart sensors, AI, and IoT on boats to provide users with tech functions such as automatic control, infotainment systems, GPS tracking, and smart connectivity. For instance, in September 2020, Garmin launched the OnDeck remote boat monitoring system. Besides, incorporating these technologies helps personal boat owners enhance their boats' safety, thereby increasing their willingness to surf in deep water.

Furthermore, the adoption of nanotechnology allows the user to control the flow conditions of the material during the moulding process. Plastic material is gaining high preference from private boat manufacturers owing to its easy availability and cost-effectiveness. Thus, the rapid development and adoption of advanced technologies are expected to boost the sales of small boats.

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Small Boats Market Growth Factors

Increasing popularity of recreational boating Activities and Pleasure Riding to Drive Market Growth

Recent trends indicate a surge in recreational boating activities, particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted individuals and families to seek safe and socially distant outdoor experiences. According to data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), recreational boating saw a significant uptick in 2020, with boat sales reaching their highest levels in over a decade.

In the U.S. alone, new powerboat sales rose by 12% in 2020 compared to the previous year, with strong demand observed across various boat categories, including small boats. Furthermore, technological advancements and manufacturing processes have led to the development of more affordable and user-friendly small boats, making them increasingly accessible to a broader range of consumers. Innovations, such as modular designs, lightweight materials, and electric propulsion systems, have contributed to small boats' affordability and ease of use, attracting first-time buyers and seasoned boating enthusiasts alike.

The U.S. economy benefits significantly from entertainment and pleasure boating, generating over USD 100 billion, as the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported. Governments worldwide are taking steps to enhance marine tourism, which is fostering market growth. These measures include increased investment in tourism, infrastructure development, and regulatory changes. Additionally, companies are targeting the younger demographic, capitalizing on their growing interest in adventurous outdoor activities. This promotion is encouraging more young people to engage in boating actively. Furthermore, the widespread use of outboard boats and watercraft for personal and recreational purposes will persist throughout the forecast period.

Additionally, government initiatives promoting recreational boating and marine tourism have bolstered the growth of the small boat market. Incentives, such as tax breaks, subsidies for boat purchases, and investments in waterfront infrastructure, have encouraged individuals and families to explore boating as a recreational activity, driving demand for small boats. Overall, increased consumer interest in outdoor recreation, technological advancements, and government policies are expected to fuel continued growth in the global small boats market in the coming years, making it an attractive segment for manufacturers and investors.

Introduction of New Products to Boost the Small Boats Market Growth

Over the past few years,  prominent shipyards have constantly progressed in designing boats. Modern trivial boats are easy to operate and offer massive potential in terms of sailing performance owing to large sail areas. For instance, in September 2020, South African Shipyard Southern Wind announced the launch of the much-anticipated sailing yacht AMMONITE from its facilities in Cape Town. Various manufacturers offer a comprehensive and exclusive overview of new developments and product trends to gain more revenue. Prominent manufacturers of all brands and many small boat builders worldwide are using new technologies for yachts and sailing boats. Also, large companies invest in first-class technology for product innovation and development to achieve a competitive advantage over other market participants. They also focus on integrating technologically advanced features such as sensors and GPS. Recreational small boats and watercraft are promising significant growth since fishing boats continue to attract coastal customers. Manufacturers are poised to accomplish inspiring growth as this market responds well to advantages offered by using new materials and the demand from the tourism sector for fun and entertainment.


Rising Concerns Over Environmental Sustainability and the Impact of Boating Activities on Marine Ecosystems Restraining the Market

Increasing awareness of environmental issues, such as water pollution, habitat destruction, and marine debris, has increased the scrutiny of recreational boating practices and regulations. According to data from the Ocean Conservancy, marine debris, including plastics, metals, and other waste materials, poses a significant threat to marine life and ecosystems, with millions of tons of trash entering the ocean each year. Small boats, particularly those powered by traditional gasoline engines, contribute to water pollution through fuel emissions and oil spills, as well as the release of microplastics from fiberglass hulls and other boat components.

In response to these concerns, regulatory agencies and environmental organizations have implemented stricter regulations and guidelines for boating activities, including emission standards, speed limits, and restrictions on certain waterways. These regulations can impose additional costs and administrative burdens on small boat owners and operators, inhibiting market growth. Addressing environmental sustainability concerns and mitigating the negative impacts of boating activities on marine ecosystems will be essential for overcoming this restraining factor and fostering long-term growth in the global boat market.

Small Boats Market Segmentation Analysis

By Product Type Analysis

Powered Boat Segment Dominates the Market

Based on product type, the market is segmented into powered boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, and others. The powered boat segment holds the largest share in the global market. These types of boats are the most common, including bass boats, bowriders, bay boats, cruisers, cuddy cabins, deck boats, and many others. The number of boating events and trade shows is increasing worldwide owing to the growing popularity of recreational boating activities among tourists of all age groups. Thus, powered boats are anticipated to have the largest share in the market in terms of value and Volume.

Moreover, sailboats are commonly used for sail training and recreational activities. These parameters will boost the market's growth over the coming years.

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By Application Type Analysis

Fishing Segment to Hold the Largest Market Share

The market is segmented into pleasure, fishing, defense, and others based on application type. The fishing segment is estimated to have the highest market share over the coming years, owing to the increasing demand for fish products globally. Fishing boats are available in different types and sizes used in freshwater and saltwater bodies. These boats have durability, stability, and strength to survive various waterways and harsh conditions. Aluminium fishing boats are in demand and are being widely used by fishermen owing to their lower weight and high durability.

  • For instance, in July 2019, the Indian Government announced a new scheme to boost fish processing and promote the fishing industry. For this, the Government of India has allocated around USD 3.5 million to the Ministry of Fishing, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying. 

The defence and pleasure segments follow the fishing segment. The significance of such boats is steadily growing in the defence sector, as these boats enable easy access to remote areas for patrolling and rescue operations. Moreover, the pleasure segment is growing steadily as buyers spend more on small boats amid the lockdown.


North America Small Boats Market Size, 2023 (USD Billion)

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The market size in Europe stood at USD 118 billion in 2023. The region dominates the small boat market share due to urbanisation's increasing prevalence and the rising interest in fishing and pleasure tours. The European market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.

The market in North America is projected to exhibit a healthy growth rate owing to the increasing number of pleasure tours and the rise in defence boats. Moreover, several market players in this region are investing a high percentage of their revenues in the marine and fishing industry, which is expected to fuel the demand for these boats. 

Asia Pacific is also expected to show significant growth in the market owing to increased government funding and initiatives to promote the fishing and marine tourism industry. Countries such as India, China, and Australia are witnessing new growth opportunities in the market owing to the rising disposable income of the people in these countries. The increasing demand for boating and recreational activities in countries including India, China, Japan, and Australia is expected to boost regional market growth further.

The demand for small boats in the rest of the world, including South America and, the Middle East & Africa, is witnessing moderate growth as the prices of boats in these countries are decreasing due to the entrance of new players in the market.

List of Key Companies in Small Boats Market

Group Beneteau, Marine Products Corporation, and Bavaria Yachtbau to Lead the Global Market

The market is fragmented due to the remarkable distribution network and strong product portfolio of major companies in developed and emerging economies. There are various major players in the market. Prominent companies focus on developing boats exclusively for fishing in different sizes, and they are used in sea and freshwater bodies. The significant qualities of these boats include enhanced durability, strength, and stability to endure fishing projects across various kinds of waterways. 


  • Group Beneteau (France)

  • Marine Products Corporation (Georgia, United States)

  • Brunswick Corporation (Illinois, United States)

  • Mastercraft Boat Company (Tennessee, United States)

  • Sunseeker (United Kingdom)

  • Malibu Boats Inc. (Tennessee, United States)

  • Yamaha Motor Corporation (Shizuoka, Japan)

  • Ferretti (Italy)

  • Bavaria Yachtbau (Germany)

  • Azimut Benetti (Italy)

  • Crestliner Inc. (United States)


  • February 2024: Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) and luxury automotive manufacturer Rolls-Royce collaborated to facilitate the local production and localization of MTU IMO Tier II compliant Series 4000 marine engines in India. This partnership aims with the Make in India joint initiative. It holds substantial market potential for upcoming projects involving fast patrol vessels, interceptor boats, and fast attack craft for the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard.

  • February 2024: Magonis Boats and Flux Marine collaborated on a new electric boat, the e-550. The e-boat is a sleek, low-profile 18-footer (5.5 meters) that can accommodate up to 6 passengers and is loaded with a well-thought-out design and operating touches.

  • January 2024: Honda developed Advanced Ship Handling Assist Technology to Enable Stress-free and Reassuring Handling of Boats

  • September 2023: Avikus launched New Boat Dock, a self-driving system for small leisure boats.  Avikus, the autonomous navigation solutions affiliate of South Korean conglomerate HD Hyundai Co., is a major player in the rapidly growing market for small boats. It has expanded its business scope for self-navigation systems from large commercial vessels to smaller ships.

  • January 2022: Yamaha unveiled a new 6 HP outboard engine and a series of developments in its low power range; it is a 2-cylinder, 212 cc engine. An offer is intended for small boats on the sea and freshwater. Its high torque allows it to propel heavier boats than the previous versions, making its consumption economical.


The small boats market report provides a detailed market analysis and focuses on key aspects such as leading companies, product types, and leading product applications. Besides this, the report offers insights into the market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors above, the report encompasses several factors that have contributed to the market's growth over recent years.

An Infographic Representation of Small Boats Market

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Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 11.4% from 2024 to 2032


Value (USD billion) & Volume (thousand units)


By Product Type

  • Powered Boat

  • Sail Boat

  • Personal Watercraft

  • Others

By Application Type

  • Pleasure

  • Fishing

  • Defence

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America

  • Europe

  • Asia Pacific

  • Rest of the World

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 31.93 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 84.05 billion by 2032.

In 2023, the North American market value stood at USD 225.20 billion.

The market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 11.4% and will exhibit steady growth over the forecast period (2024-2032).

The powered boat segment is expected to be the leading segment in this market during the forecast period.

The rapid growth in fishing activities and pleasure riding will drive the markets growth.

Group Beneteau, Marine Products Corporation, and Bavaria Yachtbau are the leading players in the global market.

North America dominated the market share in 2023.

The introduction of new products is expected to drive the adoption of small-size boats.

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