Boat sales soar due to COVID-19

Grace Marine in Le Claire, Iowa sells boats before they even arrive at the show.

LE CLAIRE, Iowa — Boat sales are on the rise as the pandemic derails summer plans.

A local dealer is so busy that it is difficult to keep the boats in stock.

On the waterfront in Le Claire, Iowa Grace Marine can’t get boats in the water fast enough for people.

Boat owner Arlo Kleppe said: ‘No one is doing anything else, you’re kind of locked in so everyone gets out.’

Getting out on the water, an activity many people have decided is the perfect option for this pandemic.

But in the Grace Marine showroom, it’s a ghost town.

Grace Marine owner Carl Hoyt said: “Boats are selling out before I can get them in stock.”

Grace Marine owner Carl Hoyt can’t keep the boats around long enough to fill the room.

“You know, I would have said it should be shutting down now as summer gear after the 4th of July, but it hasn’t shutting down at all.”

Buyers don’t stop, even with the end of the shipping season.

This strong demand is seen everywhere.

Hoyt saying, “The supply chain, it sank and everything ran out.”

Sales increased by 80% compared to the same period last year. But with every increase comes a drop, and boat dealers worry about what the fall season might look like.

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“The problem is that after this 80% we have no more boats to sell, it’s going to be broken, you know 100% because we won’t have anything to sell.”

A shortage of stock on all boats, and even on boats not yet there, 30% of them are already sold.

“I sold everything I had. That’s good, but when you have nothing to sell, I don’t know what we’re going to do in a month or two.

And Carl is doing everything he can to get the boats to come.

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