With plenty of lakes to choose from, boating is a massive pastime, and business, in B.C.’s Southern Interior.
And now, more people in North America are looking to get a taste of that, on-the-water lifestyle that so many enjoy here enjoy.
According to statistics from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, boat sales in the U.S. reached a 13-year high last year.
And sales north of the border are in the same boat.
“We just saw powerboats go through the roof in 2020,” said Sara Anghel, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada.
“Overall, across the country, the experience in growth is about five to 15 percent depending on the type of boat.”
In Kelowna, Canada’s leading manufacturer of fibreglass boats is ramping up in order to meet the growing demand.
“Our business is up five-fold,” said Campion Boats president Shawn Roach. “Right now, we are producing in the neighbourhood of 30 boats per month.”
“But we’ve got a target to try and double that manufacturing capacity here before the end of the year.”
Industry insiders seem to agree that the current boat boom is due to the pandemic.
“I think people are looking for ways to spend time with their family, in new, exciting ways, and the leisure-craft space offers that opportunity,” Roach said.
Agreeing was Flagship Marine general manager Kevan Winship, who said “there’s no question that the current travel restrictions have really helped to grow our business.”
Demand is so high that at Kelowna’s Flagship Marine, they can’t keep a steady inventory.
“This is my very last, brand-new boat in stock,” Winship said, pointing to a 2020 model.
Experts predict that the uptick in boat sales will continue to sail off the charts as the pandemic continues.
And if you want a new boat, be prepared to wait.
“The earliest deliver date as of Tuesday morning this week,” said Winship, “would have been the first week of September,” Winship said.