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Thread: Boating Industry In Trouble?

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  1. #1
    Administrator Zilpo55's Avatar
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    Boating Industry In Trouble?

    The current pandemic crisis has tanked our economy is just a few short weeks. Whether we are in a full blown recession and how long it will last remains to be seen. Being a boating addict, I keep thinking about what effect this will have on the boating industry. The houseboat manufacturing industry never fully recovered from the 2008 recession. The companies that survived did so by greatly scaling down their capacity. Sumerset, Thoroughbred, and Stardust are now all built under one roof.

    My wife and I were able to buy a much nicer boat for our budget near the end of the recession. I think it will again be rough going for the used houseboat market. A couple on our dock has a new custom houseboat on order and still need to sell their old one.

    Having said all that, does anybody care to make any predictions? Will all this change your boating plans?

  2. #2
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    It is way too early to know what we are in store for, with this crazy world we now live in.
    The biggest prediction I can make is: I am trying to survive this Pandemic

  3. #3
    Administrator Zilpo55's Avatar
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    You are right BananaTom. I hope everyone can get through this safe and healthy.

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    I spent many years in my job with the Coast Guard Office Of Boating Safety tracking boat manufacturers and the state of the industry. The boat manufacturing industry is the canary in a coal mine. Typically when the economy is going into a recession, boat sales dip way ahead, even as much as a year ahead. People start saving their money. Very few people "need" a recreational boat. However, this came on so quickly I think the industry is going to take a very severe hit. Hard to go boating when you are locked down or told to stay home. Not working. Some are layed off and not getting a paycheck. Others are able to work from home and are making some income. But any sane person isn't going to be dishing out savings right now to buy something they really don't need. They are going to hang on to what they have until this slows down and they can get back to work. Most economist are already saying we are in a recession. In places like California, Washington and Oregon only "essential businesses" are open. Boat sales is hardly an an essential business. I assume the same is going on in the NY, NJ, CT area and Louisiana. Chicago is predicted to be the next area hit bad by the virus. Lots of boats in these places. I had my boat out prepping it for spring. It's now back in storage and we in western Washington are staying at home and going out only for absolutely essential items like food. (no TP jokes please)
    Peter D. EIkenberry
    http://newboatbuilders.com
    Don't tell I can't. Tell me how I can.

  5. #5
    Administrator Zilpo55's Avatar
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    Now it's May, about two weeks before Memorial Day and things are starting to open up here in Kentucky. The ships store at our marina and several other nearby marinas opened today, operating with CDC guidelines. Our marina is still undergoing repairs from a storm last June, and the restaurant won't be ready by Memorial Day (or at all this year). Other marina restaurants will be carry out only for at least the next month. State park campgrounds are slated to open in a few weeks. It will be interesting to see how the early season progresses. I'd be interested in hearing what's happening in your state and in your boating world.
    Last edited by Zilpo55; 05-09-2020 at 03:58 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    I can you tell that I have never seen so many boats on our waters over the past month. Two weeks ago I took a ride from Pensacola to Orange Beach, Alabama, about a 60 mile trip, there were boats anchored everywhere, on sand bars and shallow water, in places I have never seen boats anchored at all. The popular places like Fort McRee and Johnson Beach were packed with no place to nose up on the Beach. It was just amazing the number of vessels, every where!!

    Our two biggest boating days here are historically 4th of July and Blue Angel Weekend. That weekend I made the trip, winds were low, the water was crystal blue, the sun was bright, and the restaurants were "To-Go" only. That was the first time where places like Flora Bama Yacht Club took your food order while we stayed in the boat. Then brought our food to the boat. First time a Bush Whacker was "To-Go" only, Hahaha.

    Then we stopped at Pirates Cove Marina in Josephine Alabama, it was closed. But there were many boats there, just hanging out. The bathrooms were open.

    Next Stop was Sunset Grill on Perdido Key at Holiday Harbor Marina. The dock hands were running from boat to boat, assisting with docking all the boats in-line, waiting for a place to tie up. We quickly got our Bush Whacker, tipped the dock hands very well, and headed to the next destination.

    It was an Epic-One-of-a Kind Day!!!

    A group in Orange Beach is organizing a Political Parade, to occur on July 5th, as they had in South Florida recently. They started two weeks ago, and now have 4,200 members on the Facebook Private Group. with about 500 to 600 boats confirmed to participate in the parade.

    2020 may suck in so many other areas of life, but not by boat on our waters!!!
    Last edited by BananaTom; 05-14-2020 at 09:19 AM.

  7. #7
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    In Washington State boating wasn't banned, but fishing was, and all the marinas that cater to recreational boats were considered "non-essential". Only the marine shops servicing commercial or govt boats were open. Also all the state parks were closed and that's where most of the boat ramps are. So very few were out boating. Now though it's starting to come back. Fishing was opened May 5. My Marina opened May 13, but I don't have my boat ready to go yet. Maybe this Friday. Anyway, this is still going to be a big hit because retailers and marine repairers aren't opened yet. This is a big time of the year for marine retailers (boat dealers) and nothing is getting sold. It will probably be mid June before they are allowed to open. that's half the boating season gone.
    Peter D. EIkenberry
    http://newboatbuilders.com
    Don't tell I can't. Tell me how I can.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BananaTom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ike View Post
    In Washington State boating wasn't banned, but fishing was, and all the marinas that cater to recreational boats were considered "non-essential". Only the marine shops servicing commercial or govt boats were open. Also all the state parks were closed and that's where most of the boat ramps are. So very few were out boating. Now though it's starting to come back. Fishing was opened May 5. My Marina opened May 13, but I don't have my boat ready to go yet. Maybe this Friday. Anyway, this is still going to be a big hit because retailers and marine repairers aren't opened yet. This is a big time of the year for marine retailers (boat dealers) and nothing is getting sold. It will probably be mid June before they are allowed to open. that's half the boating season gone.
    WOW!, Fishing was labeled as an Essential Activity here, as was hunting. 99% of the boat ramps here are city or county owned, and none closed. We only have one State Park Ramp, which was already closed for renovations. Our State Parks have opened, as have the Federal Parks, (Gulf Island Sea Shore) All marinas remained open here, except in South Florida where Miami - Dade shut them down due to, too many boats rafting up.

    Although there are many boats on the water, social distancing has occurred, so boats are not rafting, but anchoring separately at a distance.

    Now we are coming into Memorial Day, which is always a huge event. Our short-term vacation rentals have opened up, with limitations to not rent to people from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana and Michigan, as well as Washington, D.C., which are states with COVID-19 case rates higher than 700 per 100,000 residents as of May 15.

    Sure is an interesting time we are living in.

  9. #9
    Administrator Zilpo55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BananaTom View Post

    Now we are coming into Memorial Day, which is always a huge event. Our short-term vacation rentals have opened up, with limitations to not rent to people from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana and Michigan, as well as Washington, D.C., which are states with COVID-19 case rates higher than 700 per 100,000 residents as of May 15.

    Sure is an interesting time we are living in.
    We are staying home this Memorial Day for the first time since we've owned a houseboat. Stay at home orders just expired in KY and surrounding states and we believe many are going to hitch up their boat and hit the road. Marinas and restaurants are always slammed during "normal" holidays, and I predict people will not be patient with the state-ordered reduced capacities. I also fear social distancing will be ignored.

    I wish all of you a safe and relaxing holiday!

  10. #10
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    Our dock in Tennessee is a hopping with activity. The only people missing are 2 couples from blue big cities, they are threatened with detention if they travel, their words not mine. So glad to vacation on the lake and enjoy life away from this craziness. We actually moved here temporarily.
    Fishing is great (for catfish at least) fishing boats are everywhere and quite a few pleasure boats as well. Boat prices are definitely down as is discretionary cash for lower and middle income families.
    Most activities in Tennessee are back with exception of a few.

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