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Boat shortage eases, but dealers say you should not wait long

Cincinnati Boat show filled with boats for sale
A boat on the Ohio River
Posted at 11:47 AM, Jan 21, 2022

CINCINNATI — It may be hard to think about summer right now, with this week's 19-degree temperatures.

But spring is coming in just two months.

And despite the cold, boats are already selling fast, with buyers fearing a repeat of last summer's boat shortages.

Mike and Tara Honert are among those thinking of buying a new boat this year.

"We love boats, we are boating people, so once you have a boat you are always looking for your next boat," they said.

They were looking over the shiny new ski boats and pontoons at the Cincinnati Boat, Sport, and Travel Show,which runs through this Sunday at the Duke Energy Center downtown.

The good news: the floor of the center is filled with new boats, as are many Tri-State boat dealer showrooms, for now.

Brad Cummins, co-owner of Hern Marine in Fairfield, says his dealership was able to restock a bit over the holiday season, giving boat buyers some choices for the first time in months.

"Things are in a lot better place. We have a lot more inventory than we did last year," he said.

As we reported last summer, boat dealers nationwide ran out of inventory by late spring, which meant soaring prices on 2 and 3 year old boats (just like with used cars).

Last year's biggest problem was a foam shortage, that prevented boat builders from getting seats, slowing production.

Cummins says that has been mostly resolved, but you will still face most of the usual supply chain issues.

"It is not really one thing in particular, it's kind of across the board with all manufacturers," he said. "There are still some problems all over, but for the most part things aren't too bad."

So his advice: Shop now, either at the boat show this weekend or at a dealer in the next few weeks.

He is concerned that supplies could get scarce again by April, if demand remains as strong as last year.

"If you wait at this point, you may get your boat this year if you order one, but it will probably be after the vast majority of the summer has passed," he cautioned.

So if you want a boat, you have a better chance now than a year ago. But don't wait so you don't waste your money.


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