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The Boat Business Is Booming

  • July 02, 2020

In April, when reality set in for the advertising executive Joseph Gordon — that his family’s spring and summer vacation plans were canceled, that his two kids’ camps would likely be canceled, too — he cast about for an escape. After a lot of research, Mr. Gordon, 40, of downtown Manhattan, located two 19-foot Yamaha jet boats (which cost $30,000 and more) for sale at Patsy’s Bay Marina in Stony Point, N.Y.

He asked to reserve the blue one. When he called a few hours later to switch to the red one, it had already been sold.

“It was crazy,” said Mr. Gordon, who has optimistically named his boat Super Summer. “There definitely wasn’t a lot to choose from.”

Boats haven’t quite achieved sold-out pandemic panic-buy status, like toilet paper, bicycles and baby chickens, but they’re in increasingly short supply. With families looking for a way to vacation in as close to a bubble as possible, they’re plowing money they might have spent on trips and summer camps into all manner of boats, from $30,000 16-foot boats to, in one case, an $8.5 million 84-foot Italian yacht. (Yachts are generally about 33 feet, though there is no exact definition of a superyacht or gigayacht. “It depends on how cool you want to sound at the bar,” said Bob Denison, the president of Denison Yacht Sales, whose headquarters is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

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