OSHKOSH, Wis. — The pandemic struck businesses left and right, but the boating industry saw a boom through the past year.
Ranked number 5 in the nation with most registered boats, Wisconsinites stay ready to hit the water. Now, new technology is helping with this spike.
Captain Christ Amos, owner of Midwest Rental Company gets ready to test the waters for the day out on the Fox River.
But first thing’s first, check for any requests to rent out his boats. Grabbing his tablet, he scrolls through inquiries.
“I go in here and see the message and I can just send an offer to the customer,” said Amos.
The new app GetMyBoat is helping small boating businesses get their products seen by more people looking for a day on the river.
“With COVID going on people [were] just trying to get isolated, [it] started getting super busy, phone just started ringing, that’s how it kicked off, and with the income we were able to buy more equipment,” said Amos.
The rental business started last year in the middle of the on-going pandemic. Amos alongside his business partner started off the first rental company in Oshkosh with just one boat and two jet ski’s.
Using technology like the app to book and keep customers coming back has helped Midwest Rental Company continue growing and more than doubling in size.
Supplies from manufacturers are low as so many looked to purchase water sports equipment last year, a challenge Midwest rental Company was able to overcome.
“Between COVID and the supply of manufacturing not being able to produce more products, we’re actually really lucky we were able to get these two pontoon boats and 4 jets skis this year,” said Amos.
Rental booking demand is continuing though the summer, Amos is completely booked through August and expects to stayed booked throughout the summer.
“I got people coming in from Texas, I got people from Chicago, locals too, from California, so really country wide,” said Amos.
App developers encourage small business to join the service to help connect with more potential clients.
“[We’ve seen] tons of growth in the Midwestern inlands,” said Val Streif, marketing coordinator with GetMyBoat App. “On the owner side too, growing their charter business when they were worried everything would collapse with COVID and it was the total opposite.”