As Americans try to find safe summer activities during the COVID-19 pandemic, boat clubs are seeing a wave of demand.
Fox Business reported that Annapolis, Maryland-based Sailtime.com, a sailboat and powerboat franchise, “has seen new membership surge a whopping 215 percent year over year for the month of June with twice as many memberships compared to last year.”
“Most of our markets start to open up in April and May, we weren’t sure how we were going to do, but mid-April just exploded,” said Bob Remsing, chief operating officer at Sailtime.com. “People are coming to the realization that they’re probably not going to go on vacation this year and they want to do something else that’s more local.”
— George Bonelli (@geobone) July 17, 2020
According to Remsing, the cost of a new sailboat starts at around $250,000.
There are several membership options offered by the company. One option offers sailing seven times a month for a $13,000 annual fee including dockage. There are also monthly offerings that start at $495 monthly. These offers let sailors access a 35-foot long boat thrice a month.
“Some people are looking for a sailboat or power yacht but realize they can’t use it all the time so they’ll do a boat share with qualified users,” Remsing said.
Fox Business reported that the industry is generally experiencing growth. Sales for new boats are up around 9 percent from before the pandemic. Data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association says that is a 75 percent increase from 2019.