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The U.S. small autonomous pleasure boat market size was USD 210.8 million in 2022. The market is projected to grow from USD 233.5 million in 2023 to USD 509.8 million in 2030 at a CAGR of 11.8% in the 2023-2030 period.
A small autonomous boat is a watercraft that operates without direct human control. Equipped with various sensors, navigation systems, and onboard computers, these boards have the ability to navigate and make decisions autonomously.
The U.S. witnessed a substantial rise in the production and sales of recreational boats. The country’s marine industry has witnessed considerable growth in terms of the production and popularity of leisure marine vessels and is expected to develop even further during the forecast period. The U.S. holds a significant share in the autonomous pleasure boat market driven by key manufacturers, such as Brunswick Corporation, Raymarine, and Garmin Ltd., who are aiming on advancing marine autonomy technology. The growing demand for assisted docking systems in boats is expected to further contribute to the U.S. small autonomous pleasure boat market growth.
Slowed Innovations and Surge in Demand for Existing Services Made Dual Impact on Market
The government-enforced lockdowns and economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted the key players in the marine industry. The pandemic led to heavy restrictions and temporarily suspended the development and manufacturing of future technologies. Additionally, slowed OEM investment in emerging marine technology significantly hindered market growth during this period. Despite, these challenges, the marine industry witnessed a surge in demand for its products, services, and existing technology offered by manufacturers. Although the R&D and innovation of future technologies slowed, the industry witnessed a high demand for its existing product and service offerings.
The post-pandemic situation favored OEMs and suppliers in the marine industry. Leading players and local boat manufacturers could function at full capacity and resume their manufacturing units to serve the growing demand for leisure boats and other product offerings. Major players introduced exciting and innovative technologies post-pandemic, which were halted due to government-imposed restrictions. As a result, a lot of significant players introduced newer technologies in the market. Additionally, small startup companies such as Alloy announced the introduction of autonomous pleasure boats, contributing to the expansion of the market. Thus, post-pandemic situation has created highly favorable conditions in the market.
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Integration of IoT Technology in Marine Vessels to Boost Market Growth Small Autonomous Pleasure Boat
The boating industry, along with others, is witnessing heavy integration of internet of things (IoT)-related applications on several boats. The integration enables users to access information about the boat's condition and various other factors, making it a highly interactive technology among consumers. For instance, in 2022, Yamaha patented its drag-and-drop docking system for boats and Jetski, where the user is able to drag and drop boats on a smart screen with a computerized environment created by the app. As autonomous technology grows in the marine sector, the involvement of IoT technology is expected to increase linearly as more consumers enjoy such connected features. This is set to increase the U.S. small autonomous pleasure boat market share.
Growing Interests in Recreational Activities and Marine Tourism is driving the Market Growth
Populaces engage in various recreational activities, including sailing, swimming, diving, wakeboarding, and other water sports. Water sports offered much-needed relief to the people living through stringent restrictions of the pandemic. The increased demand for recreational activities and marine tourism was evident during this time as individuals sought getaways to make use of their ample disposable during lockdowns. As a result, the boating and recreational industry witnessed greater demand in the U.S. Such favorable trends associated with the rising interest of people in recreational yachting and water sports activities is anticipated to bolster the market share within the marine recreational industry.
High Capital Investment in R&D of Autonomous Technology to Restrain Product Growth
The introduction of autonomous technology in on-road vehicles is fairly achievable and consists of constraints. However, autonomous boating technology requires the in-sync of motors and various systems to carry out smooth operations. Leading companies are actively investing in various tech start-ups to provide leading technological advancement in their recreational boating segment. This innovative and cutting-edge tech used to achieve results is highly expensive. The penetration of autonomous technology in the marine recreational sector is sparse compared to other sectors, such as automotive and transportation. However, increased demand for advanced marine navigation technology and autonomous vessels for both commercial and personal applications drives the industry's technological innovation.
Lower Price of Diesel-based Small Boats is expected to Fuel the Segment’s Growth
Based on propulsion type, the market is segmented into diesel and electric propulsion.
In 2022, the diesel segment held the largest share in the U.S. market. The demand for this segment is attributed to the higher reliability of diesel-powered engines, for small autonomous pleasure boats. Moreover, refueling diesel-powered boats is simpler and more readily available, as there is a significant number of existing diesel-fueled boats in the market. Thus diesel segment accounts for a larger share in the U.S. market.
Electric propulsion is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 14.3% during the forecasted period. Electric boats are gradually gaining popularity as boat manufacturers and consumers increasingly recognize the advantages of owning electric boats over conventional fuel boats. The increasing sales of electric boats indicate significant growth potential for this segment during the forecast period.
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Growing Demand for Advanced Driver Assistant Features Drives Demand for Level 1 Autonomy
Based on level of autonomy, the market is classified into level 1, level 2, and level 3.
In 2022, the level 1 autonomy segment held the largest share of the U.S. market. The demand for level 1 autonomy is credited to the widespread availability of level 1 autonomy systems, such as advanced sensory vision and camera systems, providing the driver with a comprehensive view of the boat and its surrounding area up to a specific range, typically measured in meters. Reduced hassle in boating experience and advanced driver assistant features improving the driving conditions contribute to level 1 autonomy’s market share.
The level 3 segment is expected to grow at the highest pace in the U.S. market owing to the increasing development of autonomous leisure boat projects and start-ups in the country. Moreover, rising efforts from leading players toward introducing innovative technologies such as advanced driver assistance systems and assisted autonomous sailing systems are the factors that estimate the growth of the level 3 segment.
Growing Demand for Leisure Activities Drives Growth for Cruising Segment
Based on application, the market is bifurcated into cruising and water sports.
In 2022, the cruising segment held the largest share of the U.S. market. The segment's demand is attributed to the high number of pleasure boat sales, suitable for leisure and recreational activities. Additionally, the pandemic also boosted the recreational marine industry, with people engaging in various boating activities such as cruising, fishing, and others. Thus, accounting for a larger market share in the application segment.
The water sports segment is expected to grow steadily in the U.S. market, fueled by advancements in level 1 autonomy applications suitable for water sports activities. Moreover, integrating autonomy technology in boats increases the safety and security of the vessels, further driving the demand for autonomous capabilities in water sports segment.
The U.S. small autonomous pleasure boat market is consolidated, with limited company profiles operating in this industry. Within the competitive landscape, players exhibit a diverse product portfolio with a high focus on technological expansion. The majority of the players are focused on their partnerships & expansion strategies through dealership and R&D activities. Their focus lies on developing products compatible with the latest trends and technologies, such as self-driven boats, self-docking, and others.
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The market report provides a detailed analysis of the U.S. market and focuses on key aspects, such as leading market players, Propulsion Type, and leading applications of the product. Besides, the report offers insights into the latest market trends and highlights key industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses several factors that contributed to the market’s growth in recent years.
CAGR of 11.8% from 2023 to 2030
Value (USD Million)
By Propulsion Type
By Level of Autonomy
Growing at a CAGR of 11.8%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2023-2030).
Growing interests in recreational activities and marine tourism are expected to drive market growth.
Brunswick Corporation, Garmin, Raymarine, and Volvo Penta are the major players in the U.S. market.
Diesel in the propulsion type segment dominated the market in 2022.
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