More to the Story with Staley: Boating Economy

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — The four-day Chattanooga Boat Show at the Convention Center just came to a close this past weekend. If it had to do with water recreation, you found it here.

Boats, kayaks, ski-dos, wake boards, everything. Something for all water enthusiasts, to include our nation’s finest.

“We help disabled and injured veterans to be able to wake board and wake surf,” said Adrianne Cox, a volunteer for Wake for Warriors. “We try and help veterans get on the water all over the United States.”

Hundreds attended this event. It was the second time it has been held here in Chattanooga.

All of the top dealers and retailers were here to show their brands. But no surprise: making a sale was the top priority.

“It’s a selling weekend. It’s a little different than the other shows,” show director Ryan Jones said. “You can get a good deal here. It’s a good time to get ready for summer, right now.”

Some of the boats here sell for as high as $2 million. You would think that this industry would have been really hurt by the pandemic and our tough economic times.

You would be wrong. Actually, it is the exact opposite.

“COVID, unfortunately, was a blessing in disguise for our industry. It got people out on the water, and it opened people’s eyes as to what we do,” sales manager Sean Broderick said. “Sales were crazy the last couple of years, and prices have now leveled off.”

“A lot of people discovered boating during the pandemic,” Jones said. “Really, what we have here, so much water to use, it was a blessing. We even got low on inventory, but now it seems to be back up.”

Despite elsewhere, demand in the boating industry remains high, and it’s expected to continue in 2023.

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