The pandemic leads to an increase in boat sales and traffic


WARWICK, RI (WPRI) – Rhode Island boat shop owners say they’ve seen a boom in business lately and that’s due, at least in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mike Farman, a yacht broker at Brewer Yacht Sales in Warwick, says sales of everything water-related, including boats, jet skis and yachts, have taken off since the pandemic.

He thinks being on the water is a way for people to get out of the house while staying socially distant.

“This year is busier than I will ever remember,” Farman said. “What’s happening this year that’s different from most is, of course, the virus, and that’s causing people to do different things with the rest of their lives and the certainty of their summer.”

Farman said he has seen many people out of work due to the virus, now with a lot more free time.

“People who are older and retiring or forced to be furloughed, and they have always dreamed of boating, so this is a perfect opportunity to shelter in place with their loved ones,” said he declared. “The younger ones, they’re not in school, some of them are fired and half the family are not working, and they have to do something safe with the family, so they made the decision to buy a boat and live their dream.”

Farman has been in the business for 18 years and said spring has always been their busiest season. That is, until this year.

But with everyone on the water, safety must come first, he said.

“You need to know how to be safe on a boat, so you should have a boating safety course under your belt,” Farman said.

East Providence Harbor Master Bruce Dufresne said he has also seen a big increase in boating traffic, but luckily no accidents so far.

“The only thing to do this summer is go in your pool or go out on a boat. Boat sales are exploding,” DuFresne said. “There was a huge increase in traffic over the weekend .”

Narragansett Harbor Master Kevin Connors said in his 30 years it is the busiest season he has ever seen and there has been an increase in boating incidents this summer .

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