With more people making their way outdoors again, people are eager to get on the water as temperatures start to rise — and boats big enough to float a family seem to be in highest demand.
“This heightened demand for new boats amounted to a record year in sales for the recreational boating industry as Americans sought ways to spend time on the water with their loved ones,” National Marine Manufacturers Association Director of Business Intelligence Vicky Yu said.
In Lake Havasu City, boat dealerships are grappling with the highest demand they’ve seen in years and a supply that’s scraping by.
Customers are looking for “anything that gets them outdoors,” John Meyers, general manager of USA RV & Marine said. “They want to get out. They want to do things. They want to get out on the water.”
They, like many local dealerships, typically see an increase this time of year as the weather starts to warm, but this demand — and lack of product — is “unprecedented,” Meyers added, noting that he’s been working at the same dealership for 25 years.
Bob Sepulveda, sales manager at Advantage Boats, said their customers are mainly interested in “family-style deck boats,” and they “can’t build them fast enough.”
Deck boats are also in high demand at The Boat Brokers & RV, along with pontoon boats, according to Salesman Morgan Braden.
“After that, I would probably say the larger performance boats are next in line,” he added.
Anthony Chavez, salesman at Sun Country Inland, said he’s seen “a big transition from speedboats to pontoon boats” himself.
“I’d say that pontoon boats are probably the most popular on our lake,” Chavez said, adding that the transition to pontoon boats “seems to be the natural progression of things.”
According to NMMA, sales of freshwater fishing boats and pontoons made up half of all new powerboats sold in 2020, with pontoon sales up 53 percent in July of last year.
This type of boat has also undergone a significant evolution over the years, with a much wider range of price points to purchase at, from decked-out luxury models to simpler vessels — all with enough room to fit the whole family and enjoy a day on the water.