Boat sales, services boom as pandemic sinks summer activities

Local News

SAVANNAH, G.a. (WSAV) – First time boat buyers are on the rise as people start to recognize that boating is one of the safest way to keep busy while social distancing.

Because of this, the boating industry is booming with sales and people looking to purchase boats around the country, especially here in the Coastal Empire.

“I’ve been here eighteen years and I’ve never seen the traffic that we’ve had as far as phone calls, internet leads and walk-ins. People are just coming in saying, “I need a boat,” says boat salesman, Chet Porter.

Porter says dealerships like his are having a hard time keeping up the high demand.

“We’re taking a lot of pre-orders and selling boats before they even go into production. We’ve had to order boats from several other manufacturers to be able to get them in a timely manner and get people out on the water.”

Not only are people purchasing the vessels, but they’re looking for places to store them. Boat clubs and marinas in the area have reached capacity and have seen a record number of memberships in the past four months.

“I’ve been in this business for about sixteen years and we usually add two or three boats a year. We added almost 15 boats to the fleet this year”, says owner of Freedom Boat Club, Thomas McCarthy.

McCarthy says to try and keep up with the influx of people looking for storage, he began building another marina. In the short time a sign was posted for building, customers from all over signed up months before initial opening.

“We put a sign out saying that we were opening storage and we had an influx in calls that I couldn’t even keep up with,” McCarthy explains.

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, boating dealers reported they’ve seen the strongest number of sales in the past three months since 2018.

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