It’s smooth sailing for the boat business.
Boat clubs are seeing a wave of demand as Americans seek out safe summer activities with social distancing in mind during the coronavirus pandemic.
Annapolis, Maryland-based Sailtime.com, a sailboat and powerboat franchise that sells boats and allows people to buy sail share memberships, has seen new membership surge a whopping 215 percent year over year for the month of June with twice as many memberships compared to last year, the company told FOX Business.
“Most of our markets start to open up in April and May, we weren’t sure how we were going to do, but mid-April just exploded," Bob Remsing, chief operating officer at Sailtime.com, told FOX Business. "People are coming to the realization that they’re probably not going to go on vacation this year and they want to do something else that’s more local."
The cost of a new sailboat, Remsing says, starts at around $250,000 and the company offers a number of different membership options. One offers sailing seven times a month for a $13,000 annual fee including dockage, and there are monthly offerings starting at $495 a month for sailors to access a 35-foot long boat three times a month.
“Some people are looking for a sailboat or power yacht but realize they can’t use it all the time so they’ll do a boat share with qualified users,” Remsing said.
Outside of boat sharing, the industry as a whole is experiencing growth. Sales for new boats are up around 9 percent from pre-pandemic levels -- that’s a 75 percent increase over last year, according to the latest data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.