Boat sales have increased during the pandemic. The owner of Boats Incorporated in Niantic said he has never seen demand so high.
“I have been in this field for 30 years. I’ve never seen it so crazy when it comes to people wanting boats and people wanting to get out on the water, ”said Don MacKenzie, owner of Boats Inc.
MacKenzie said the craze started at the start of the pandemic.
“The industry has been discovered. People have found a way to escape, “MacKenzie said.” They couldn’t go to Florida during this time, couldn’t fly, couldn’t go to restaurants and amusement parks, they still needed to recreate. ”
Boats Inc. sales increased in 2020 and many were sold to novice boaters.
“As much as we tried to get 35-45 year olds to boating, it did,” MacKenzie said.
The Connecticut Marine Trades Association has seen a similar trend statewide.
“Everyone is in the same boat,” said Tasha Cusson, president of the association. “Because of the pandemic, to be able to get out on the water and make memories with their families.”
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, more than 320,000 new units were sold last year across the country. This is an increase of 13% compared to 2019.
MacKenzie says demand is still high, but inventories have fallen.
“We’re having a hard time getting product right now,” MacKenzie said. “We have boats. We’ve used boats that come in periodically, but stocks are down statewide.”
The slips are also in high demand statewide. All the seats at Boats Inc. are taken and they have a waiting list.
Rick White from Berlin bought a boat there today. He said he looked forward to another pandemic summer on the water.
“This is an outdoor activity, you are fully aware of the care of all members of your family,” White said. “So it’s been nice.”