As most boat dealerships can attest, the Summer of 2020 was a busy as there has ever been and the showrooms were nearly picked clean by Summer’s end. Boat builders are still working to replenish inventories and meet sold order commitments.
Just a year ago, we were starting to feel the first impacts of the approaching COVID-19 crisis. As February 2020 turned to March 2020, we suddenly found ourselves distancing, cancelling and ultimately shutting down many activities and businesses. Thankfully, Summer came along. Boats and boaters headed eagerly for the water, all around the country. Many people who had not been boaters, yet, headed for the water too — seeking the enjoyment, the freedom, fresh air and special experiences boating can offer. By mid-summer, new boats (and used boats) were in very short supply. Boatbuilders had then — and still have now — a manufacturing challenge ahead of them.
As a recent news release from the National Marine Manufacturers Association noted:
Of note in the December Monthly Shipment Report, manufacturing of personal watercraft, outboard boats, jet boats and sterndrive boats ramped up in December, boosting powerboat wholesale shipments up 17% compared to November. However, current inventory levels are tracking 20%-60% below normal levels.
“Boat builders are shipping approximately 20,000 new boats monthly and operating at 13% above normal levels to restock anemic inventories ahead of peak selling season,” said Vicky Yu, NMMA’s Director of Business Intelligence. “Continued supply chain disruption and workforce issues, combined with an average order backlog of up to six months, will challenge manufacturers to keep up with new orders through at least 2021.” Read the full release, click here.
At Pier 33, our partner manufacturer, producing Chaparral and Robalo Boats has been proactive and responsive to dealers’ needs, but just like other builders is working hard to meet the nationwide demand for the Summer of 2021. Much of Pier 33’s 2021 production is already sold and demand remains high. We’re already prepared to discuss orders for 2022 models. As excited as we are for the approaching season, we are also expecting to have many conversations with disappointed hopeful boaters who will find a very limited selection on hand in dealers’ showrooms during the spring and summer.
We are constantly updating our website with the status (Available/Sale Pending/Sold) of our new boat inventory. The remainder of our inventory is intended for local region sale only, so we can best meet the needs of our nearby boaters. This production bottleneck will probably not clear until sometime next year, so we are also focusing on pre-orders for 2022’s. Watch for upcoming news about our Trade-In/Trade-Up program, which will provide current boaters with a pre-season or in-season maintenance plan for their future trade with the goal of ensuring a trouble-free 2021 summer and having the next new boat ready to splash in 2022.