The annual boat show at the New York State Fairgrounds will not return this year, and while it's chocked up to the pandemic, it's not because of infection concerns. Members of New York Sea Grant says dealers are still grappling with a dwindling supply of boats and other sea crafts, due to increased demand during the pandemic.
At Fremac Marine in Lakeport, staff say sales have been off the charts the last two years, noting that the pandemic actually encouraged people to buy boats during a time when there wasn't much else to do.
On top of strong sales the last two years, they say sales are already off to a strong start here in 2022. If you're considering getting a boat for this summer, experts said you better do it now rather than waiting until April or May.
"If it's something you want to do this year, you need to do it soon. Like, in the next week or two. We're averaging about 10 to 12 boats a week, even this time of year. So, inventory is just going to be gone. I have people coming in every day saying, 'I thought I'd get an early start.' Unfortunately, this year it's not an early start," said Fremac Marine Sales Manager James Finger.
Neither Finger nor Dave White of New York Sea Grant believe higher gas prices are having any effect on boat sales. They did, however, say it may change how much people run their motor on the water this year.
White reminded people if you need to get your boat serviced or are considering renting a boat for a weekend this summer, you should do that sooner than later. It's also a good time to register for a boat safety course so you're ready to go on the water once the weather breaks.
New York Sea Grant supports the boating industry across the state. White said many of the boat shows in the area have been canceled the last few months. However, plans for a spring boat show in Clayton during the first weekend of April are still on.