MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — It’s the new craze. For the first time in more than a decade, the National Marine Manufacturers Association saw an increase in first time boat buyers.
More than 310,000 powerboats were sold in the U.S. in 2020. That’s up 12% from 2019.
The sea lions sunbathing at Marina Del Rey are a good representation of how Lisa Desai feels when she’s on the water too, relaxed and at peace.
Nearly a year ago, she and her two daughters took up boating and now it’s the reason they look forward to every Tuesday as they head to Redondo Beach for lunch.
“Here we don’t have to wear masks, we have our six feet distance where we have our own little bubble, we have somewhere we can sit that’s not our house," Desai explained. "We’d bring snacks and cut cucumbers into… make little cucumber art and stuff.”
Like all of us back when COVID cases were high, Lisa said they were spending a lot of time inside the house.
The freelance stenographer is one of many moms who gave up working to pull the girls out of traditional Zoom classes when it became impossible for her to keep up with both the 7 and 9 year old’s classwork.
They’ve been in a homeschooling program offered by the Culver City School District ever since.
“It’s been a challenging year, but it’s been a really rewarding year for us. Just one-on-one time with me and the girls," Desai explained. "I was kind of, on the wheel of working and being busy all the time and keeping up with my calendar and then everything stopped. So at the beginning it was hard, but the girls have really bonded.”
Lisa's daughter Ada, who is 7-years old, said she and her sister especially love the wind in their hair and flying through the waves. For her, there’s nothing like being out on the water with her mom and sister.
“Like, I don’t like COVID, but I do, because I like to spend time with mommy,” she said.
Mommy is grateful for the Carefree Boat Club that allows them to take the boat out whenever they please. Membership Director Anthony Malveto said Lisa is part of a 30% increase they saw in new members during the pandemic.
“We saw a huge turnout," Malveto said. "It was the one thing that they could still do, so our members were very excited, very happy, very thankful to boat over the last year.”
Lisa decided to join the Carefree Boat Club so she’d only have to pay an initial and monthly fee to use the boat, without having to worry about upkeep. But thousands of Angelenos decided they wanted to purchase their own. The more than 310,000 powerboats sold in the U.S. in 2020 is the most the industry has seen since before the great recession.
“[It's] just somewhere nice to be other than the house, and the breeze and [I just] felt kind of like a human when I came back," Desai explained.
Lisa said she and her girls will remain members of the boat club long after the world reopens. If you’d like more information about Carefree Boat Club Los Angeles, visit www.LABoatClub.com.