Industry predicts solid year despite boat show cancellation


Photo: DAVID FERGUSON. (30094341)

The event, which draws thousands of visitors to the port each May, has been canceled for the second year in a row due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nick Wood, owner of South Pier Marine, said despite this, 2021 will be “another good year” for the water sports industry.

He added that while sales of larger boats were unlikely to increase this year, the industry was seeing a number of new buyers and that he expected islanders to continue buying boats. day to help them get the most out of “stays”.

“We’ve been here before without a Jersey Boat Show in 2020 and, strangely enough, we sold more boats this weekend without a Boat Show,” he said. “We will miss it from a flag and a corporate perspective, but even in January we see our boat sales department busier than at any time we’ve seen it. We have the impression that, apart from a boat show, the industry is very much alive and dynamic.

“The way everything is right now, I don’t see us opening up enough to go on vacation again so I feel like we’re going to have the same conversation with the customers of ‘well, if I don’t go on vacation I’m going to buy a boat It’s going to be another busy year with this.

He added that the recently proposed Albert Pier developments which, if approved, could see additional berths introduced and 24-hour access to the pontoons, were a “big boost” to morale. industry.

“Everyone only sees those big 20-meter bunks, but that’s not all. There are a lot of people going out on these pontoons and it will free up a lot of space in the other marina for local day boats. ‘

BRIG Ribs rep Andy Lewis said the show’s cancellation was “disappointing,” but agreed small boat sales would likely remain strong amid the “uncertainty” surrounding Covid-19 and current travel restrictions.

“We already have orders coming up, more than we normally would have, and that’s before the boat show, so we’re pretty optimistic,” he said. “I think it’s because people have the potential for vacations in mind this summer because there’s so much uncertainty around booking summer vacations. It will be a lot more crowded, especially since last year I think they enjoyed being home with the weather, anxious to potentially spend the summer at home this year, which will be very good for sales of small boats.

“I hope the government sees the opportunity to use all the fiscal stimulus money it was planning to use in the economy on marine infrastructure, as there is clearly a demand for it.”

Miles Strong, of Quay Boats, said the boat show’s cancellation could hurt the industry in terms of interest, but noted that canceling the vacation was likely to displace the idea of ​​a leisure trip. nautical “higher in the hierarchy” for many islanders.

“This is another outdoor activity that people can enjoy and feel like leaving the island, just to relieve cabin fever,” he said.

The ports of Jersey and Barclays have said some form of “maritime celebration” could take place later in the summer if restrictions are relaxed in time.

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