Leisure-boat sales surge as Islanders opt for staycations

MARINE leisure has seen a boost in sales during the Covid-19 crisis, according to local boat distributors.

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With holiday bookings cancelled as a result of the pandemic, many Islanders have turned towards local ‘staycations’ instead.

According to BRIG Ribs representative Andy Lewis, this has been a driving force in increased leisure-boat sales.

‘Inquiries for boat sales have more than doubled,’ said Mr Lewis. ‘This has been caused by a combination of factors – good weather, people spending more time online researching boats and the significant increase in staycations this summer. If there is such a thing as a perfect storm in the marine industry this has been it. The only restraints will be whether the government can invest in infrastructure quickly enough to keep up with demand.’

Miles Strong, of Quay Boats, said there had been an increase in first-time buyers.

‘Generally everything has been busy – the whole industry has really picked up,’ said Mr Strong. ‘There’s a lot of people cancelling holidays and getting involved in boating for the first time. The small-boat market has definitely picked up, because it’s an introduction – people not having to part with too much cash. It’s been very busy for all of us.

‘The most important thing is we’ve all worked together closely, even with our competitors, to facilitate and get jobs done, to share the workload. As a local community I’d say it’s been really positive as to how we’ve worked closer together.’

Mr Strong also raised concerns that the government should recognise the increase in marine leisure and provide the infrastructure to facilitate its growth.

‘Based on the surge of local boat ownership for staycations, now is the time that the Ports of Jersey need to expedite the process of revamping the town marina to provide more berths.

‘Hopefully, this surge in sales will kick-start the Ports of Jersey to continue to support local marine businesses.’

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