In a data-driven world, knowing your “numbers” is a crucial part of achieving success. And in the halls of power of Washington, D.C., and 50 state capitals, credible data carries extra weight when it comes to advancing policies and laws that benefit recreational boaters. That’s why Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is calling attention to today’s release of economic data by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) that shows the significance of the outdoor industry – and boating in particular – to the U.S. economy.
First, the numbers:
- Outdoor recreation accounted for $412 billion of the U.S. gross domestic product, representing 2.2 percent of the overall GDP.
- This translates to 4.5 million jobs with compensation of $214 billion in the same year.
- Outdoor recreation contribution to GDP is greater than farming, mining or public utilities, and is comparable to broadcasting/telecommunications.
- Recreational boating and fishing accounted for $36.93 billion of that total, the single largest category of activities identified in the report.
“As we work for boaters in Washington and state capitals, this data will help policymakers understand that boating is more than just fun on the water,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “For boaters, the BEA data will help BoatUS advocate for laws and policies that support access to waterways and help boaters enjoy a variety of water-based recreation activities.”
The analysis was a result of passage of the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016, which required the Department of Commerce, acting through BEA, to enter into a joint memorandum with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior to conduct, assess and analyze the outdoor-recreation economy of the United States and its effects on the overall U.S. economy.
The BEA report can be found at bea.gov/data.