Boat Sales in 2021: It’s a Seller’s Market

The "Boating Boom" of 2020 predicted to continue into 2021 as COVID still a factor

If you’ve been anywhere near the water this past year, chances are you’ve noticed how many boats there are.  Boating is definitely having a major moment this year, especially here on the Chesapeake Bay.

According to the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA), the US saw historic sales for both power and sailboats in 2020 – levels not seen since before the 2008 recession.   There’s no doubt that COVID-19 played a big role in steering people towards boating.  An opportunity to get outside and have some fun in a socially distanced and safe way was at the top of everyone’s list last year.  With cancelled vacations and most jobs shifting to working remotely, people had extra time to spend on the water. It wasn’t just seasoned boaters buying either – the biggest growth came from smaller, entry-level boats, indicating that more new people are picking up boating. Sales of jet skis, wake boats and smaller sailboats soared, as many were exploring boating for the first time.   

So what does this mean for 2021?  

Demand for boats is still strong but inventory is low.  New boat manufacturers have sold most of their production slots well into 2021 (or even 2022), forcing the used boat market into overdrive. Our predictions are that it’s going to be Seller’s market this year, with boats going under contract quickly and for close to asking price.  With another year of pandemic precautions looming, buyers who didn’t take action last season are at the gate and ready to buy – and buy quickly! – when something relevant hits the market.

If you’re thinking about selling, now is an excellent opportunity to list your boat.  It won’t be long until some of the new-to-boating buyers realize how much work (and money) owning a boat is and decide that perhaps boating isn’t for them after all.  We anticipate inventory levels going back up to more normal levels Fall/Winter 2021 and into Spring 2022.

If you would like to have a conversation about how we can best represent your boat in today’s market, please send us an email at:

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