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Safe at Sea: Summer 2020 boat sales soar

By PAT SCHMIDT - | Sep 29, 2020

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has released its statistics regarding the new boat sales through June. Not surprisingly, boating has emerged as a safe form of outdoor recreation and an ideal social distancing activity for families, and boat sales have taken off.

Back in March, the industry looked bleak. Boat dealer inventories were stagnant, and the population was so distracted by the coronavirus that sales were nearly non-existent. In fact, boat registration offices were closed or backed up in many states. It may seem counterintuitive that activities based on discretionary spending, such as boating or owning an RV, are attracting large numbers of buyers at this time.

A recent article in “Discover Boating” delved into the reasoning and came up with six reasons boating sales have spiked:

– Boating is social distancing at its finest.

After months of being cooped up inside, families are looking for ways to safely stretch their wings. Social distancing remains important, and there is hardly a safer way to connect with your family than on your boat.

– Outside is safer.

Not only is the great outdoors safer, boating has been scientifically proven to improve one’s mental, physical and emotional health, igniting something that has been referred to as “blue mind.”

– Families have more time on their hands with open schedules.

Families who have had busy summer schedules in the past are facing blank calendars. This year saw few — if any — summer camps, softball/soccer practices, swim lessons, et cetera.

– There are fewer — again, if any — opportunities for large gatherings or events.

Much like the above kids’ activities, adults are limited significantly from large events such as professional sporting events, concerts and amusement parks. Thus, they are channeling their time and money into boating.

– Families are looking for vacation or “stay-cation” activities that keep them close to home.

While many families had significant travel plans throughout the United States or internationally, these plans came to a complete halt. Thus, there was unexpected money available for family’s budgets.

– There are low interest rates.

You can hardly ask for a better lending climate.

The end result? Soaring boat sales and younger boaters/families involved in recreational boating.

Pat Schmidt is a member of America’s Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva. For more about the chapter and its boating education courses, visit www.sancapboating.club or contact education@sanibelcaptivasps.org or 612-987-2125.