Nationwide boat sales hit record high during pandemic

Marc Dorfman has been sailing for over 23 years. He is a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, SailTime Miami Captain, and American Sailing Association Certified Sailing Instructor. He moved from Los Angeles to Miami during the pandemic.

“When COVID came to Los Angeles, they really shut down the city. And they stopped all the work I was doing on the water. And so it didn’t make sense to stay,” he said.

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Dorfman says interest in sailing has skyrocketed since the pandemic. He called it “a fresh start”.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association reports that total boat sales increased 13% from 2019 to 2020. NMMA recorded approximately 318,000 boats sold throughout the year. These figures were the highest since before the Great Recession of 2008. Sales of sailboats increased by 17%, with more than 5,600 units sold.

Dorfman also has a very different take on powerboating than sailing.

“Miami is surrounded by powerboats blaring music. Sailing is quieter, it’s a more relaxing way to be on the water. You know, with powerboating, you can just turn the key to someone and he steps on the accelerator. With sailing, there’s a lifetime of learning,” he said.

WLRN recently joined Dorfman on his sailboat, and a reporter even helped him off the dock – donning a pair of fingerless gloves and grabbing the rope, as Dorfman deftly guided the sailboat out of the narrow channel.

In the bay, Dorfman unfurled the sails and turned off the engine – leaving only the serene sound of water lapping against the hull and the wind blowing through the sails.

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