Buying a Boat in Ontario

Bowrider, Pontoon and Fishing Boat Opportunities

Buying a boat in Ontario just may be a scavenger hunt with few clues in 2021! Bowrider boats, Pontoon boats and fishing boat buying in 2020 was a track meet! Just what is the boat buying market 2021? Covid 19 appears to be a 5 alarm dumpster fire heading into 2021! The staycation, as in stay in Ontario, is the new norm! Dealers completely sold out of boats in 2020! No used boats either to be found! Therefore, prices for way too old used boats not making any market sense at all! Used boat pirates all over private sales.

Boat Sales Summer 2020

The summer of 2020 demonstrated the following with respect to boat sales:

  1. Severe shortages of major brands of Pontoon boats, fishing boats and bowriders.
  2. No ability to order and receive a new boat after January 2020 for delivery before early summer 2020.
  3. Shortage of available boat trailers or very long delivery times.
  4. Extreme shortage of both Mercury and Yamaha outboards particularly above 150 HP.
  5. Marine parts shortages including oils and boating accessories.
  6. Shortages of available docks to rent long or short term.

Experience 2020

Good day and welcome to Boater’s Chat! My name is Tom Welsh and I am the Owner/ General Manager of Huntsville Marine. My wife Brenda and I bought Huntsville Marine in 1986 and beet the rush out of the GTA. In 34 years I have seen or been involved in just about all that can happen in this business till Covid 19 hit. Covid 19 is an off the chart new experience!

In March of this year for instance, when the restrictive shutdowns started…it did not look good for the marine business in Ontario at all! It looked like total devastation! Then when in late May, the sun peaked out and life looked better. Then, into June there was not enough hours in the day, in July we were exhausted. August was nuts because there was no inventory left to sell and importantly the weather was still great! Record sales, heaps of service and boat rentals were rock solid. Staff stretched beyond limits to get it done coupled with parts shortages. People moved to the cottage early and now now staying permanently. Estimates are that the town of Huntsville has grown by 5000 people in just a few months. Cottage sales for instance are through the roof and house prices are right behind. Rumors’ of up to $800 per night for a cottage rental!

Firstly, as I write this article, Huntsville Marine has placed orders for spring delivery of several million dollars of boats! Secondly, already we have a high number already spoken for with deposits for spring delivery. We decided early to step the orders…good thing as almost all of the major boat builders are sold out to dealers till 2022. Of note, one of our major suppliers Princecraft just cut off all pontoon and fishing boat orders till 2022. Bayliner is over sold by hundreds of units. Monterey is in a very tight window to get a boat into July next year. Campion Boats are sold out into next summer right now. In addition, many of the extremely high demand Mercury Pro XS outboards are not available till well into 2021. Yamaha SHO outboards in the US are out for up to 9 months from now.

No one believes a salesman when they say order it now or it is not coming! Well for the first time in a long time…it is true! Will there be some in stock boat inventory next May or early Summer? Yes, but do not expect high levels or much choice when it comes to power, size and options. Consequently with this information filtering out, families boating recreation for 2021 is a top of the mind event. Due to a summer of record boat rentals, Huntsville Marine is looking at a new reservation system to handle the volume.

What About Small Bowriders….Are They Going To Be Available in 2021

Good question! Apparently Larson and Rinker Boats are no longer with us. Consequently, scratch those options! Word on the street is that Glastron Boats are in a state of flux. Four Winns Boats are possibly being repositioned in the market…lots of market change. All this turmoil places more pressure on inventory availability for 2021.

Boat manufactures for some time have not been profitable with boats under 20 feet. Yes, this is an actual hard fact! Boat builders continue to rejig their boat lineup and some are eliminating boats under 20 feet. Not ever going to build one ever again! Who is left for the under 20″ boat buyer to consider? There ae only 3 real boat builders right now in the small boat market with available models under 20 feet:

Bayliner, Tahoe and Campion Boats

What Now?

In conclusion, the saying goes…if you snooze you loose! Consequently if you are planning on buying a boat in Ontario for 2021…the clock is ticking to secure your family marine investment. Those who choose to wait may be in a position of a scavenger picking at the bones!

For questions about Buying a boat in Ontario in 2021, send your requests to Boater’s Chat and we will see if we can help! Even with inventory shortages, don’t just settle! Do the research! Go farther than just the price! No, all boats are not equal or built the same!

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