And I don’t mean the weather, which has been a bit hot here in southern California. I am talking about boat sales. COVID-19 initially set back all acquisition plans, and pretty much every boat show coast-to-coast (usually September to February) has announced cancellations or will be doing so in the near future.
In March and April, the early days of the pandemic things were pretty quiet for sellers. Despite the gloomy predictions early in the pandemic, both new and used boats, sail and power, are selling strongly at dealerships and through private sale transactions, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. As the options for COVID “safe” vacations dwindled, existing boat owners doubled down on bigger boats and previous non-boat-owners bought boats. Everyone realized that escaping to the water is a great, local fun experience, where you can control your crowd (or bubble, as they like to say). This explosion in owners is also mirrored in the RV industry where the exact same thing is happening for the exact same reasons.
By May, new boat sales rose 59% from April sales, and 9% over the prior year (pre-COVID times in 2019). "Total sales in May were the highest they've been in a decade," Sarah Salvatori at the National Marine Manufacturers Association (or NMMA) recently commented. She continued to say that sellers were seeing upticks across all segments of the industry.
If you have a new boat, you have to have new gear for it! Lorene Frank, a Santa Cruz, California based regional marketing manager at West Marine, says they had many of the same experiences as far as a decline in sales. "Like most businesses, we definitely saw a decline as this pandemic hit but have since seen a big increase as people are getting outside and back on the water," she says, noting the largest increase coming among kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, but "sales continue to be strong in boating accessories and fishing, with an uptick in watersports and electronics as the season peaked."
All these new boat owners will have a variety of boat repairs, re-painting, woodwork and brightwork restoration, new canvas, etc., etc. If that is you, seek out a competent boat repair firm such as Ventura Boat Services in Oxnard, California.