Boat dealers are filling their showrooms but are still struggling with shortages


It’s winter now, but if your mind is on warm weather and boating, you might want to act now.

The Gaylord Boat Show runs from February 25-27. Last year, it wouldn’t have been surprising if a boat showroom was empty.

“Last year there was a major challenge with a foam shortage,” said John Conrad, Sales Manager, Elk Rapids Marina.

Foam is used to make seats on bots. This year, boat builders are still experiencing shortages.

“There is a shortage of different aluminum chemicals and microchips,” Conrad said.

“Fiberglass will always be difficult. It’s been tough for a while now,” said Joe Irving, sales associate at Dewitt Marine.

What’s different this year is that boat dealers are planning ahead in hopes that their showrooms don’t completely empty out.

“The only thing we did was that we ordered our boats much earlier in the season. We actually ordered our boats last spring for this spring; it helped a lot,” Conrad said.

However, the only boat dealers expecting to make it on the water this summer is what’s in stock.

“If you were looking to order now, we’re thinking late summer. Mid-summer, maybe if you’re feeling lucky,” Irving said.

As for the demand for boats, this is only increasing as people look forward to warmer weather.

“There is no doubt that people are looking to get in the water. They’re looking to have fun with their family,” Conrad said.

“Probably the biggest part of boating is the memories you create with friends and family on the water. Who isn’t looking to spend more time with family right now?” says Irving.


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