Close this search box.

Finland, a country of great opportunities


In Finland, recreational boating is a thriving economic sector despite a dip in boat sales during the pandemic. The country’s abundance of islands and lakes presents numerous opportunities for boating enthusiasts. Amidst the pandemic, boating emerged as a popular choice for peaceful vacations while adhering to social distancing measures.

A few numbers

Now the Finnish marine industry has returned to normal levels. According to data released by Finnboat (the Finnish Maritime Industries Federation), derived from boat registration statistics and wholesale deliveries, the number of new boats sold in 2022 is down 10% from the peak year 2021. However, sales of equipment and engines increased by about 10%.

The boating industry in Finland employs about 3,500 people, and the turnover of Finnboat member companies exceeded 800 million euros.

The number of boat registrations is considered the key indicator of Finnish boating. This value began to rise after the financial crisis of 2013. All boats longer than 5.5 m or equipped with an engine of more than 15 kW (20 horsepower) are listed in a special registry.

The pandemic years (2020-2021) have led the boat trade to grow significantly. In 2022, the pace is back to normal because registrations are down 11% over the previous year but remain higher than in 2019. Sales of 5.5 m and smaller boats, however, decreased by 9%.

Preferred brands, materials, market segments

Finns buying a boat tend to prefer domestic brands. In 2022, Buster was the number one brand in terms of registered units (572 boats), followed by Yamarin (393 boats). They are followed by Silver, Suvi, Faster, and Terhi, who have exceeded 200 registrations.

At the level of building materials, aluminum is particularly popular. Buster, Silver, Faster, and Falcon—all companies in the top 10 most popular companies—make boats with hulls partly or entirely made of aluminum. In the past three years, the share of registered aluminum boats has increased by 13%. However, reinforced plastic models are also appreciated.

The watercraft sector has also increased steadily, with more than 1,000 registrations per year. In this segment, the most purchased brand was Sea-Doo, Canadian, followed by Yamaha and Kawasaki.

Also, the trade in used boats has been brisk. According to the boat registry maintained by the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom, more than 22,500 changes in boat ownership have been registered. The previous two years’ peak sales of more than 28,000 used boats dropped by 1/5, but the number was still at a higher level than in 2019. During the year, more than 18,000 motorboats, more than 2,700 PWCs, and more than 1,200 sailboats changed owners.

Exports slightly down

According to customs statistics, the value of Finnish boat exports decreased by about 30% in the January-November 2022 period compared with the previous year. Nearly 10,000 boats were exported to 43 different countries. Direct export of boat accessories decreased by 22%.

The most significant export country is Sweden. Although the value of exports decreased by 14%, more than 4,300 vessels with a total value of 79 million euros were delivered to Sweden. In second place is Norway, with about 2,500 vessels exported worth 56.5 million euros.

Trade with Russia has not proved significant for the Finnish marine industry, even though before the attack on Ukraine it was growing. Nearly 2/3 of the boats exported from Finland to Russia (a total value of 16 million) consisted of jet skis; this was followed by motor boats, worth 5 million, and engines and accessories for the marine industry.

Finnboat, the Finnish Federation of Maritime Industries, is the umbrella organization for the country’s maritime enterprises. Nearly 100% of enterprises dedicated to the production and trade of vessels, in Finland, are members of Finnboat. From you can quickly access up-to-date information on new and used boats, engines, equipment, and marine services offered by member companies. Finnboat, as it does every year, has collected estimates of member companies’ turnover and staffing at the beginning of 2023. The companies involved are optimistic about the current year: 35% expect turnover to increase and 40% expect it to remain the same. Employment is also expected to remain at a good level, with 70% of companies estimating that the number of employees will remain the same and 21% estimating that the number of employees will increase.

Although imports from Mexico have decreased by 21%, this country remains the source of the highest number of imported vessels in 2022, with a total value of 36.3 million euros. Among these boats, personal watercraft (4,500 units) predominate for personal use, and most of them are destined for the EU area; only 1,200 of them remain in Finland.

The second most important country, after Mexico, is Poland, from which imports from January to November 2022 increased by 35% to 14.2 million, with 421 boats. Imports from Sweden totaled 388 vessels with a total value of 4 million euros, up 21%.

According to wholesale delivery statistics reported by Finnboat members, the sales volume of outboards with internal combustion engines remained at the previous year’s level, just over 12,000 units. Overall, the import of engines increased by 10%. Exports of outboard motors decreased from nearly 24,000 units in the previous year to just over 7,000 units.