Boating and fishing are the number one outdoor recreational activities in America, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. They’re having a heck of a year!
Jeff Williams is the General Manager of LMC Marine Center in Houston, and concurs with what boat sellers across the country have seen over the past year: an increase in first-time boat buyers. “Drastic increase. It’s been substantial.”
Blame it on Covid. With families locked down and few options to enjoy fresh air, boating became the highly safe go-to for anyone within driving distance of water. “It was something you put your whole group in one area and go out and still be in the outdoors and not be affected by people around you if you didn’t want to be,” says Williams.
More than 310,000 new power boats were purchased in 2020, a new high not seen since the Great Recession of 2008. Freshwater fishing boats and pontoons accounted for 50% of those purchases.
As with autos, Williams says the industry has encountered a few hiccups in the supply chain. “From aluminum side, to fiberglass resin side, and now it’s getting to upholstery. We were fortunate we had a very large inventory at the time. It’s across every market there is, they are running in to a lack of inventory.”
According to the NMMA, the annual sale of boats, marine products and services are estimated to total $47 billion in 2020, up 9% from 2019.
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