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Cleveland Boat Show begins, industry shows slow signs of recovery from supply chain shortages

Posted at 7:50 AM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 07:52:15-04

CLEVELAND — Cleveland's biggest boating and fishing exhibition kicks off Thursday. The Cleveland Boat Show is at the I-X Center until March 20. Officials estimate more than 50,000 visitors. While consumers will get a closer look at this year's boating stock and supplies, supply chain issues may be easing up making to help Ohioans enjoy the summer on the lake.

“Things are catching up as far as a supply chain,” said Michelle Burke, president of the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association.

Burke says supply shortages have eased, but it hasn’t gone away.

It's a brand-specific thing,” she said. “Are there boats out there to buy? Absolutely.”

Though that wasn’t the case last summer. You may remember, News 5’s consumer team reported boat dealers nationwide ran out of inventory by late spring, which sparked soaring prices on two and three-year-old boats; the same trend we’re seeing with used cars.

If you go to a dealership and they have that boat in stock, you can buy that boat immediately and have it launched this spring for you. Dealers also have boats on order,” said Burke. “They have a bunch of boats coming in over the course of the next couple of months.”

However, Burke did admit the industry is struggling. She says the two areas the boating industry is struggling with are workforce and education. She says showing people they can have major success in the marine industry has not been easy. Meanwhile, water and boat safety has always proved challenging.

Right now the market is booming with younger, first-time buyers, who turned to the outdoors during the pandemic. Kayaking has also gained popularity.

If you are looking to buy a boat, Burke recommends looking into financing to help with affordability, working with a dealer you trust and doing your research to avoid scams.

Independent sales that happen on Facebook, there could be a lot of scams out there. I've heard of those happening where people lose money.

RELATED: 2022 Progressive Cleveland Boat Show: Set sail on your boating dreams at the I-X Center