News from the Front

Andy Adams

Nov 1, 2022

I’m writing this on Friday October 28 from my hotel room at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS). I have lots of news from the front but I’m not sure what to make of it all.

The show is packed. The docks are very busy and getting anything to eat or drink involves a long line up. With the recent cancellation of the IBEX Show in Tampa that was in the path of the devastating Hurricane Ian, many exhibitors scrambled to get into the tents or into the Broward Convention Centre at FLIBS. There is an abundance of new product that the industry needed to get out. 

It also meant that everyone came to FLIBS for meetings and contact with their dealers as well as the boat-buying public. And, that “boat-buying public” needs pretty deep pockets this year. It seems that prices are up and there could be many reasons for that.

We have heard about shipping problems, product and labour shortages from just about everyone. These hurdles seems to be across the board – no one is spared. On the other hand, many boatbuilders I have spoken to are expressing confidence that they will be delivering product to their dealers this spring, so that’s encouraging.

The subject of Canada’s new Luxury Tax on new boats worth over $250,000 has come up often and our response has been that the business and the sales will continue – don’t pull back, don’t cancel orders.

First, this will just need to be added to the bottom line and Canadian dealers would be well advised to down-play it. Overall, the price of many things is also up – way up in some cases. Car & Driver recently released a survey indicating that given the (sometimes severe) shortage of certain new vehicles in the USA, prospective buyers were willing to pay as much as $18,000 over list price to get the car they want.

I was stunned by that. Car dealers are the wheeler-dealers of all time and buyers have worked hard to grind down the prices in the past. But shortages have changed that it seems. NMMA CEO Frank Hugelmeyer in his recent IBEX Industry virtual address noted that new boat inventory levels are not high and that the industry should be in great shape going forward.

We all see the pace slowing due to rising interest rates and economic uncertainty but we are far from being in a downturn if you can judge from the crowds and the dealer’s attitudes at FLIBS. Can’t wait to see what happens at our Canadian shows this winter.

Andy Adams – Editor

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