Watercraft Sales in Australia Growing Faster than Boat Sales 

Australians are embracing personal watercraft more than ever before, so much in fact that Sea-Doo, Yamaha and Kawasaki combined now represent almost half of the annual sales of all new powered boats. While the overall numbers might be small compared with North America, the latest figures show more than 6800 PWCs were sold in Australia last year out of a total of approximately 15,000 new powered vessels.

The sales figures for PWCs are more accurate to calculate because Sea-Doo, Yamaha and Kawasaki share their numbers confidentially among each other and with the Australian Boating Industry Association (BIA).

The sales of other powered vessels are more difficult to calculate because each jurisdiction across the country keeps different registration records, and the type of craft ranges from small boats, cruisers, and “tinnies” with outboard motors.

The latest figures from Australia’s Boating Industry Association President, Darren Vaux, showed last year’s tally of 6800 new PWC sales was a 47 percent increase over the past 10 years, with an average growth of 7 percent per year versus 1 to 2 percent for the rest of the powered boating market.

While the PWC manufactures don’t share their sales data publicly, confidential figures show Sea-Doo dominates in Australia with approximately 68 percent share of PWC sales, ahead of Yamaha (27 percent) and Kawasaki (5 percent).

However, the sales split across all three brands varies from region to region across Australia, and Yamaha has a higher proportion of sales, for example, in NSW, Australia’s most populous state, although Sea-Doo still has the lion’s share there, too.

Yamaha and Kawasaki hope to claw back some of their lost ground in 2020 with the arrival of new models. Australia’s BIA says there are now more 76,000 PWCs registered across Australia. Their popularity has prompted authorities to repeat warnings to PWC owners to familiarize themselves with the rules ahead of the summer holidays.

Authorities in NSW, Queensland and Victoria have increased their enforcement of PWC riders and boosted their own PWC fleets in the lead-up to summer.

Queensland authorities recently added four brand-new Sea-Doo GTX155 watercraft decked out in Maritime Safety Queensland livery – to join the fleet of seven Queensland water police and four Queensland fisheries jet skis on patrol.

Police in NSW have just taken delivery of 12 brand-new Sea-Doo RXT-X300s, while Victorian authorities are preparing to enforce new PWC restrictions in Port Phillip Bay.

Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee Chair, Angus Mitchell, said in a media statement: “The majority of people who ride personal watercraft are people who are keen to do the right thing. There is a minority however who can cause a nuisance and that usually centers around speeding and not keeping a safe distance – especially from people in or by the water.”

He added: “We want everyone to enjoy our diverse waterways, we also want everyone to be considerate of other waterways users during peak times and ultimately we would like to encourage safe practices while operating PWC this coming summer season.”

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Joshua Dowling

Joshua Dowling

Based in Sydney, AUS, Joshua Dowling has been riding PWC since 2014. He's clocked hundreds of hours of ocean riding along the east coast of Australia – and away from the vast number of PWC-restricted areas in Sydney's waterways – but doesn't mind burning fuel in flat water from time to time.

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