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1.1 Definition and scope of study

Pleasure boats are boats, sail or motor used in a leisure environment as opposed to professional and racing boats. Usually, this class of vessels promotes comfort and safety. The recreational boating industry involves several players, including:

  • Manufacturers
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Engine manufacturers
  • Ports and their associated services
  • Other services, such as rentals

This market can be segmented by type of product offered: propulsion boat (sail or motor) and by boat size (from small boats under 4 meters to yachts over 20 meters in length). The global pleasure boat market size was valued at 29.0 billion USD in 2019, and it is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.5% from 2021 to 2028

At the beginning of the twentieth century, recreational boating, as it is now understood, i.e., as a phenomenon that touches almost all classes of the population, was absolutely unthinkable: there existed throughout Italy a very limited number of boats (around 30) understood as private units that were used for sports and recreational activities by an extremely restricted elite of people. With the "boom" of economic recovery in the 1960s things began to change and from then on the number of leisure boats in the country continued to increase as to reach a total of 95.611 registered boats between motorboats, sail boats and recreational vessels in 2019.

Italy is nowadays considered a leader at the world level in the superyacht sector. The Global Order Book, elaborated by Boat International, places the Italian industry at the top for orders of yachts over 24 meters, with 407 yachts under construction out of a total of 821 at global level. Moreover, in Italy there are some of the oldest and most renowned shipyards and also the boat rental market is extremely developed. 

The leisure boat market in this country thus represents an extremely interesting investment opportunity both for boats manufacturers and for the whole economy which revolves around the nautical sector. 

1.2 Global Market Analysis

As anticipated in the introduction to the market study, the global market for pleasure boats was valued at **.* billion USD in ****, and it is expected to reach **.** billion USD by ****, growing at a CAGR (***) of *.*%. In particular, factors as a growing tourism industry and increasing disposable income levels of people are ...

1.3 The Italian Market

According to Boat International, the global authority in superyachting, Italy maintains its leading position in the production and sale of pleasure boats, followed by the Netherlands and Turkey. Despite the negative impact played by the global emergency in ****, the high quality of Italian products and the notoriety that the country has ...

1.4 Import and Export Analysis

In order to evaluate the dimension of importations and exportations of pleasure boats, it is necessary to consider the data related to the code **.** - Yacht and other vessels. In particular, dealing with exportations, they reached a total amount of $*.** billion in ****, the main destination countries being United States, Cayman Islands, ...

1.5 Covid-19 Impact

To analyse the impact that Covid-** exerted on the pleasure boat market in Italy, we will rely on a survey conducted by Smart&Green, the research and training centre for the territorial valorization of natural, anthropic and technological resources operating at the Department of Political Science of the University of Genoa. ...


2.1 Demand Overview

Dealing with the demand of pleasure boats, it is worth highlighting the fact that, when purchasing a pleasure boat, the vast majority of acquirers go for second-hand units. The graph below shows the ratio between new boats and used ones. 

Pleasure Boats - New vs Second-Hand Italy, ****, in %. Source: ****

The figures ...

2.2 Demand Drivers

One of the main drivers for the demand of pleasure boats is the ownership of a nautical licence. As defined in the latest legislative provisions, the nautical licence gives the owner the qualification to command, which is necessary to sail sailing or motor boats which are more powerful or longer than ...

2.3 Geographical Distribution of Demand

In Italy, there are **,*** boats registered at the peripheral maritime offices or at the civil motorization. The region with the most registered boats is Liguria, with **,*** (***). Lombardy, though not overlooking the sea, has *.**% of the boats, while Abruzzo and Molise combined do not even reach a thousand. The first Adriatic region ...


3.1 Structure and Dynamics of the Market

Introducing the structure of the market under analysis, it is necessary to consider the code ATECO **.** - Construction of pleasure and sport boats - to investigate the main trends of the market. In particular, dealing with the total number of enterprises operating in the sector, the following graph shows that the ...

3.2 Value Chain


3.3 Distribution Channels

Analysing the distribution of pleasure boats, it is necessary to consider two main components: on one hand, the distribution channels and, on the other hand, the physical distribution of products. In particular, the former refers to the number and types of intermediaries needed to bring products and services to the consumer ...

3.4 Main Players

Recalling the table reported in the section *.* - The Italian Market - it is possible to calculate the market share of the most important Italian companies basing on the number of units produced in **** and the total number of orders present in the Order Book for the year (***).



4.1 Typology of the Offer

According to the site Ecological Yachting, it is possible to list for different categories of pleasure boats, which are highlighted in the following table:

Other factors of interest can be:

Whether the boat has a motor or is a sailboat; Whether the boat is an inflatable one.

4.2 Pricing

Dealing with the price of pleasure boats, it is worth highlighting the main components in the costs that musty be sustained in order to purchase a unit of these. First and foremost, according to Edmiston, an important broker of the sector [***], the average asking price for a superyacht in the period ...


5.1 Regulatory Framework

Boating for pleasure craft is governed by a set of rules dedicated to and separate from those of commercial boating. The main sources of regulation in Italy are the following:

Codice della Nautica da Diporto (***); The Regulations implementing the Nautical Code; Directive ****/**/EU [***]; The law implementing the Directive, in the current ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • Azimut Benetti
  • Sanlorenzo
  • Overmarine Group
  • The Italian Sea Group
  • Palumbo
  • Baglietto
  • Cantiere delle Marche
  • Feadship
  • Ocean Alexander
  • Lürssen

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