If anything has been learned in the last year, it is that people’s appetite for outdoor recreation has gone crazy.
Outdoor products have blown out of stores and manufacturers can’t keep up.
Another thing to add to the list of hard-to-buy boats is boats, report boat sellers and manufacturers in eastern Idaho.
“Everything is used up. The dealers ‘stocks are exhausted, the manufacturers’ stocks are exhausted. There’s nothing left in the pipeline, ”said Greg Gillespie, owner of Precision Boats in Idaho Falls. “Consumers have literally sucked the pipeline dry. … You are totally crazy about relaxation. “
A recent news item in the New York Times reported that sales of boats under 50 feet nationwide rose 27% from 2019 and 35% from 2020.
Gillespie and other Idaho Falls boat sellers said it takes several months to get a recreational boat. Some specific boat types or brands will be sold out by 2022.
“As soon as we could get someone, a boat is like January,” said Matt Kelley of ClackaCraft, who sells drift boats across the country and mainly in the Intermountain West. “But we have a number of orders for March. At the moment we’re mainly looking at the spring orders. “
Kelley said they usually have standard boats for immediate purchase this time of year, but not this year.
“We’re just very busy and very backordered,” he said.
Kelley attributes the shortage to demand.
“We’re seeing regions in the US where we normally sell a handful of boats, some of those regions are heating up,” he said. “Our normal places where we sell boats are in increasing demand. Lots of people are buying houses and moving to the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West and want to buy a boat and relax on the rivers. “
Hyde Drift Boats, an Idaho Falls company that makes and sells drift boats and trailers, is feeling the twofold bind: difficulty getting the materials needed to build boats and dealing with unusual demand from buyers.
“I’ve been in the business for over 50 years and it’s the craziest I’ve ever seen,” said LaMoyne Hyde, owner and president of Hyde Drift Boats. “It is definitely a whole new ball game. … If a person comes in and wants to buy a boat and I tell them three months, you and I both know that the fishing season will not be good in three months. They’re buying them for next year. “
Making boats and trailers out of fiberglass, Hyde Drift Boats notes that some components have been hard to come by since the pandemic broke out.
“The nice thing is that we build our own boats. We can control what it is as long as the supply chain takes care of us, ”said Hyde. “We have over 500 suppliers who supply us. That’s a lot of stuff to do safe (wrong). I just got a couple of hundred tires that we ordered in February. Normally it would come every week. “
Kelley said his surgery had to be a little stingy last year as certain items were in higher demand over the past year.
“We’ve been on a knife-edge with some materials so far,” said Kelley. “We had a pretty good surplus so we were fine there. Some of our components that we buy from manufacturers, parts and parts, things like that, we’ve had a hard time keeping those things. … Usually someone could just come in and buy a pair of oars. Instead we had to hold them for our boat sales. “
Boat manufacturers and sellers assume that the high demand will continue at least for the next few months. Another contributing factor is the limited capacity of the industry to build boats.
Gillespie said selling all of his product did not materially change his company’s bottom line. He said he usually sells more than 100 boats in most years.
“Realistically, it’s just a normal year for the end of sales,” said Gillespie. “A normal year lasts all year, and we did it in the first five months of the year. By the time May rolls in, we will pretty much be sold out of everything. “
One area he has found his business to be impacted is the current shortage of used boats. As the demand for new boats increases, so does the demand for used boats and private parties find it easy to resell by opting out of trade-ins at stores like Gillespie’s.
“I looked back this week and our used boat sales are about 25% of what they were,” said Gillespie. “We have lost 75% of our used boat sales in the past four years. I think people are selling their boats for more money than they are worth. We wouldn’t do that as a company. “