Show at Fort Lauderdale boat show.

Finding my starter boat at the Fort Lauderdale boat show, FLIBs 2021

The boating industry is experiencing record sales from Quebec to California, and even in Europe, with sales starting out strong in warm-weather states and then gathering up pace in other regions of the country, such as Maine and Minnesota and everywhere else in between during the summer. Marinas and yacht repair companies are completely overwhelmed by the surge in interest. Where slips for boats are available for reservation, there are also waiting lists for them.

According to a recent poll, more than 70% of boating dealerships were either entirely out of stock or had a low inventory of available boats so we went to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show to find that out.

The pattern makes sense: people are looking for anything to do outside and a safe place to go during a time when the epidemic has heightened safety worries and reduced recreational alternatives. Oceans, lakes, and ponds are great places for people to get away from their social lives while still having a good time doing it.

Cruiser Yatchs and tons of other brands were present at FLIBs 2021.

Pandemic and Its Effect on Boating Industry

As a result of coronavirus-related travel restrictions, more people are venturing out on the water close to home.

According to the most recent available data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, new boat sales, ranging from saltwater fishing boats to yachts, hit their highest level in a decade in May. Sales fell in March and April 2020, but quickly recovered following pandemic-related losses, according to the report.

And sales continued throughout the summer. As per the Marine Retailers Association, 73% of boat dealers reported retail increase in August. Demand was so high that 82 percent of dealers reported that new boat stock was too low in that month, and 89 percent reported that used boat stock was also low at the time of publication.

That is consistent with the behavior observed by Boat Traders, a Miami-based online marketplace for new and old boats. Following a fall in April, sales began to increase in May and June – and have continued to do so.

Under 26-foot vessels and vessels in the 26-to-35-foot category have seen the most sales. Smaller personal watercraft sales, such as jet skis, are also surging, and these are the ones I’m interested in.

I went to FLIBS mostly interested in a very specific type of boat. 

Inflatable boats: also known as dinghy, or rib or tender boat. A dinghy refers to a small open boat, propelled by oars, paddles, or motors carried as a tender, lifeboat, or pleasure craft on a ship while a rib, which stands for rigid inflatable boat (RIB) is a lightweight but high-performance and high-capacity unsinkable boat constructed with a rigid hull bottom joined to side-forming air tubes that are inflated with air.

Beautiful inboard recreational boat at FLIBs.
Beautiful inboard boat at FLIBs.

Six reasons why people are crazy about boating these days.

Some may be surprised that boat sales are on the rise. It may seem strange that recreational spending hobbies like boating and RVing are growing in popularity, considering that some parts of the population have had months of non-existent or low employment.

However, an examination of the root causes may reveal that this is the right time to try a new lifestyle, or move to a larger or more powerful boat model.

  • Boating is the ultimate form of social distancing.

After months of being isolated via Zoom chats and 1,000 different games, families are now ready to fly. Social separation is likely to continue in the future. There is no safer place than on a boat with your loved ones.

  • It’s safer to be outdoors.

Experts believe transmission rates in the outdoors are lower than indoors. Instead of sitting in a cinema where the climate control system can spread the virus, why don’t you go outside to get cool air and vitamin D from sunlight. Both of these are hailed as being good for your health.

There have been many scientific studies that show recreational boating has positive effects on your physical, mental and emotional health. This activates what is known as the “blue mind”.

  • Very few options available.

Among the activities that compete for leisure are large gatherings like concerts, professional sporting events, and amusement parks. These activities are either not as plentiful or have limited capacities, so they don’t compete for our limited leisure time. Boating is becoming more popular.

  • Families are looking for activities close to their homes.

Even though you may have planned a summer vacation that included a trip to Italy or a cruise on a ship for honeymoon, or even a week at Disney World in the future, it is likely that you will be traveling less long distance and very little abroad.

  • The interest rates are at an all-time low level.

There isn’t a better lending environment than the current one. Interest rates are at their lowest level in history, whether you’re looking to get a loan for your home, car, or boat. Thanks to technological advances, you can now apply for loans online with very little or no interaction from your lender.

  • Families have more flexibility and time for their lives.

Family members who had previously struggled to keep up with youth athletics now have a clear calendar. It is possible there won’t be any baseball, soccer, swim team practice or dance classes, which could put stress on the family’s time and schedules.

It is increasingly common to choose between a safe, together life on the ocean or a structured and stressful one.

The cockpit of the Riviera inflatable luxury ribs.
The cockpit of the Riviera inflatable luxury ribs.

Different trends in Boating

Boats are available in a variety of sizes, forms, and price ranges. A new aluminum fishing boat with an outboard engine may cost as little as $10,500, whereas a 44-foot (13-meter) cruiser could cost as much as $900,000 or more. And the prices continue to rise from there.

As a result of the cancellation of vacation trips and the postponement of other activities, people are eager to escape to the water on everything from tiny boats to luxurious yachts.

According to the Marine Industry Association, sales of new powerboats in the United States climbed by almost 12 percent last year to more than 310,000 units, compared to 2019. Powerboats accounted for half of last year’s powerboat sales, with freshwater fishing and pontoon boats popular among the kinds of boats customers bought.

The Flexboat 450 at the Lifeline inflatables booth at FLIBs.
The Flexboat 450 at the Lifeline inflatables booth at FLIBs.

The Severity of the Situation

Several boat merchants are working to meet their order backlog for the year ahead. Many social distancing measures are projected to remain in place for the foreseeable future in many parts of the country, resulting in individuals continuing to social distance and if you own a boat as a means of securely enjoying the outdoors, particularly during the more temperate months of the year.

According to some people, before to the pandemic, people had to wait four to six weeks to purchase a boat. Previously, he has stated that purchasers might expect to wait up to eight months for their yacht.

New Brunswick disclosed that it had boosted the number of boats that it was producing at three of its plants to accommodate an increased customer demand. Nonetheless, he predicts it will be at least two or three years before the yacht dealer will be completely stocked again.

Dealers are seeking our boats, and we are ramping up production as quickly as possible to meet retail and non-retail demands. We have an increasing pipeline of field inventory to meet the needs of both our retail and non-retail customers.

The Northstar inflatables at Nautical Ventures at FLIBs.
The Northstar inflatables at Nautical Ventures at FLIBs.

Is it a good time to go boating?

According to the Top-10 searches conducted on an online platform, it appears that the interest in Southern Florida and the Canary Islands has been steadily rising over the first three months of 2021. Interest in other U.S. destinations, such as Texas, Charleston, and Chicago, has recently risen with the arrival of summer post pandemic.

Bookings in Miami have nearly doubled over the past four months, and they’re nearly twice of all of 2020. Due to party and pontoon boat popularity, travelers tend to book everything from luxury yacht charters to day trips in party and pontoon boats.

The most famous island of the Florida Keys has seen a rise in visitors for both land and water-based travel. Bookings have increased eight times, with a rental period of three days on board. For people travelling to the area, catamarans is a nice choice.

This region of Southern California is a great location for locals and visitors alike. Bookings in Long Beach more than doubled compared to all of 2020 in the last two months. A significant portion of boat bookings are for day-long excursions.

Watch below our video with our visit to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat show on October 2021.


People are going crazy indoors and boating has become a door to escape pandemic and depression as well. So, it’s time to plan a boating trip and relax your body, mind and soul. 

Max Francisco