Boating Boom in Canada Could Mean Boat Shortages

A survey conducted by the Toronto Boat Show shows that 80% of participating boat dealers/exhibitors attending the show indicated they anticipate current inventory to be in low supply, if not sold-out, within the next few months (by May 2021).

Significant findings comparing last year to 2019 include:

  • 80% of exhibitors at the show experienced a significant increase in inquiries/sales from new boaters and first-time buyers
  • 50% of exhibitors noted an increase in inquiries/sales from customers under the age of 40
  • 40% of exhibitors estimated that overall sales increased by 15% – 25%
  • Pontoons, bowriders, and the personal watercraft such as Sea-Doos and WaveRunners were some of the top-selling categories in 2020 among boat show exhibitors

Click here to view full survey release.

“Although boat sales were strong in 2020, lack of inventory is stumping prospective revenues for Canadian boat dealers – with an estimated 95% who rely on manufacturing and parts from the US and abroad,” said Rick Layzell, CEO of the Boating Ontario Association, that represents 500+ members of the recreational boating industry in Ontario including marinas and dealers.  “Boat dealers continue to face many of the same challenges as other sectors in terms of supply chain disruptions due to the pandemic, and there’s very little they can do about it.”

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Transport Canada issued a record number of Pleasure Craft Operator Cards (PCOC) in 2020, an increase of approximately 75% compared to 2019.  This marks the highest number of new boater licenses in Canada over the past six years. The influx of new boaters and new boat purchasers has not only impacted boat sales but has also had a positive ripple effect across many facets of the boating sector including marinas, insurance and financing brokers, boating certifications and education.