As Americans emerged from their homes after the first Covid wave, they headed straight to their local boat dealers. Pleasure spending on boats shot up to 20% in May 2020 above the pre-pandemic pace. So far this year, boat spending is running nearly 50% higher than before the pandemic.
While boating experiences a renaissance of sorts, it is also making inroads beyond its traditional base. After rising from 45 in the mid-1990s to around 52 for most of the 2010s, the average age of US boat buyers fell to 50 in 2020. At Freedom Boat Club, women now account for 35% of the 67,000 members who pay to use boats without the hassle of storing and maintaining them — much higher than the female share of boat owners.
More-flexible work arrangements for many Americans have also allowed non-retired people to get in on the action with weekday boating on the rise.
Short Squeez Takeaway: As work environments keep getting more flexible (aka remote) in the aftermath of the pandemic, the boat boom might be here to stay. It's become easier for affluent white-collar workers "working" from home to locate themselves within convenient distance of a body of water. At a time when crowded indoor spaces can pose deadly risks, boats are a pretty OK place to be.