Why more Aussies are buying boats than ever

What do Aussies do in the midst of a pandemic? Buy a boat it seems.


In NSW, figures showed a 26 per cent increase in new boat registration from May to December 2020, and a 40 per cent increase in rego transfers for second hand vessels (compared with same time in 2019).


NSW isn’t the only state to see an influx in new registrations. So, why are more and more Australians buying into the boating life? Here’s what you need to know.


More WA boaties set sail

In May 2020, new boat registrations (for vessels under five metres) increased by 39 per cent, when compared with May 2019. Vince De Luca from Dinghy World in South Perth told Vanessa Pogorelic of RAC that this was highly unusual.


“Normally we have a really flat winter for sales but that just hasn’t occurred at all,” he said.
“It’s like we’ve had our summer during winter.”


Vince runs Dinghy World with his brother, and at first, they thought business would dry up in the wake of COVID-19. Instead, their phones haven’t stopped ringing.


“When it all first happened, we thought, well we’d better close the yard, so we sent everyone home,” Vince told the RAC.

“My brother and I were still manning the phones, but we noticed the calls never stopped. People were ringing up to get their boat serviced. They were saying, ‘look I haven’t started my motor up for a while, but I want to get it going’.”


So what’s the reason for buying a boat?

Cameron McIntyre, the Chief Executive of Carsales, told the Sydney Morning Herald` that international travel restrictions have largely driven the increase in boating sales.


“The pandemic has meant that people can’t travel internationally and it can be challenging to even travel interstate so people are deciding to holiday locally and …. invest money that would normally be part of their travel budget into the purchase of a boat,” he said. has seen a major increase in traffic to its website, including visits to the website’s editorial page. This all indicates people are not only searching for boats, but also doing their research beforehand.


Cameron said campervans and caravans were on a similar trajectory to boats.


Australians are clearly looking for a way to enjoy their own backyard, now that international and inter-state travel has become more difficult. Andrew Simpson, the Owner and Director of Balmain Boat Company in NSW, told the Herald that business had ‘…never been better’.


“When people went into lockdown and the world became smaller, the boom in sales was phenomenal – sales are up 400 per cent,” he said.
“It was so lovely to watch – fathers are building them with their sons and having this rich experience together.”


Is buying a boat a good idea right now?

Buying a boat is a big decision, and knowing if it’s the right one for you personally will depend on a number of factors. Budget is of course a big one.


If you have the funds to buy and maintain a boat, and the experience and skills, then it’s certainly a great investment in your happiness and mental health. Of course, owning a boat is hard work too.


Emma Harvey, a 48 year old boatie from NSW told the Herald that she bought a Northshore 38 racer-cruiser yacht just when the pandemic began.


“I was literally sitting on a mooring taking delivery of the boat when everything went into lockdown and I was sitting there on my own thinking ‘goodness me, what have I done?’ because it was a significant outlay of money,” she said.

“I decided if it all goes very wrong, there’s nowhere I’d rather be than on the water.”


During lockdown, Emma kept busy repairing her boat, which she said gave her something to focus her time on. Then, she spent spring and summer enjoying a time of ‘safe and healthy’ sailing. All in all, Emma is ‘…delighted with her decision’ to buy a boat.


Need cover for your new boat?

If you’ve just purchased a new boat, or a second hand vessel, contact us for a free quote for your marine insurance. We have been covering Aussie boaties for 27 years, and take pride in making sure you have the right kind of cover for your needs and your budget.


Get an obligation free quote today, and stay safe out there!


white and gray speedboat running under bridge during daytime