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Bump's World


Bump's World - October 2020
October 25, 2020


How is the boating industry surviving the pandemic? For the most part pretty good.

The New York Times ran an editorial a couple of months ago about how the boat business was booming as a result of the virus. Many of my friends were quick to tell me how great my business was. When you refer to the boat business it is a big industry. Sailboats over 25 feet represent less than 5% of the total business. I'm in the smallest part of the industry. Ponton boats represent about 25%. The largest part of the boat busines is the aluminum small duck type boat. Lund is the builder of these aluminum boats and builds the most boats of any builder in the world. Jet skis are also a large volume builder.

Overall in the boat business I live in a very small pond.

Boating is a great way to survive the pandemic. Most of boating supports family interaction or with close friends that you are probably hanging out with anyway. I think social distancing is not a good boating feature but again the people you are doing it with are close to you anyway.

Boating is done out on the water away from other people so social distancing from people you don't know is pretty good.

There are several parts of the leisure time industry that are getting killed. Travel in general is very scary. The Caribbean charter business is non existent due to travel to British Virgin Islands and other counties is prohibited. First they had hurricane Hugo now this. Back to back disasters for them.

The used boat business is doing very well. Used boats have always been a very supply sided industry. Lots of boats for sale for not a lot of buyers. This is the first time in my career that I'm running out of listings. Now I need to figure out how to get more listings.

The new boat side is doing ok but not gang busters. Manufacturers are having supply and work force issues which is pushing production back. Also all boat shows have been canceled. Boat shows do a good job of pumping people up and getting them in the buying mood. They are also very expensive for us. It will be interesting to see if our saving in cost of not doing the show off sets the loss in sales??

Lots of used boats also require travel to go see then. People are not excited to do that. Also some good listing are in Canada which does not allow US citizens travel. You can buy the boat you just can not see it.

We had almost no sales in end of March, April, May and June due to the stay at home order. Sales thru the summer were good and continue to be good. Our total number of boats sold has exceeded last year, but because more used than new, the numbers are about the same.

Boating is safe healthy way to spend your time. With friends or family it is all good. Pandemic or no pandemic get out on the water.

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Bump Wilcox