LAKE OZARK – As summer approaches, some Lake of the Ozarks businesses are gearing up to welcome more boaters.
According to a 2020 to study of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, marine products and services peaked in 13 years, increasing boat sales by 9% from 2019.
Dale Law, the chief executive of Marine Max, believes this national trend stems from the travel restrictions of the pandemic.
“I think the pandemic created the fear of travel,” Law said.
In turn, people began to find new hobbies.
“As May started and the weather changed, people started calling, wanting boats, and it’s been going crazy ever since,” Law said.
Just down the shore on Bagnell Dam, Neon Taco first opened in early May.
Restaurant general manager Adam Burke said they got a taste of the summer season as many boaters were out on the water.
“We were packed all weekend,” Burke said.
Burke said he was anxiously awaiting other boats heading for the lake.
“We think it’s going to be great for the business and we’re super excited,” Burke said.
However, some people will not have their boats in time for the summer.
“We’re looking at two to three months, or even next year in some cases, to get your boat,” Law said.
Although there is an increase in sales nationwide, some rental companies have also been affected by the trend.
Paradise Marina and Watersports opened last year and was able to experience the demand.
Managing Director Dylan Lahay has been renting boats since 2009 and said he has never met so many boaters on the water.
“There wasn’t a single weekend after June when we didn’t sell everything. Calls kept coming in at six and seven in the evening with people looking for something to do on the water, ”Lahay said.
Burke said Neon Taco is the only restaurant on the Strip with free boat access