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Ahead of the summer, kayaks, boats still in high demand

A local shop says by mid-summer, they don't expect to have any kayaks, and if you plan to look for a used or new boat, you could face some challenges.

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Donald Mattison was planning on selling the boat he's had since 2012 and getting a new one until he was told how long it would take the new one to finally arrive. 

"Being that it could take anywhere from 5-12 months, I decided not even to sell my boat," Mattison said, "..of course, it's frustrating."

But he's not the only one having to change course this boating season.  

According to Rob Smith over at Smith Boys in North Tonawanda, many people looking to buy a new boat are struggling to get one in time because of the supply chain issues since the start of the pandemic. 

"Some people are going used because they can't find new. That's another issue with product shortages and parts not being readily available is making new boats harder to come by," Smith said. 

Smith says Smith Boys has 120 boats between its six locations across the state, but he says it's still half the inventory Western New York's location saw a few years ago. 

Their boats are selling fast, but Smith says if you're looking for a used boat anywhere, it's probably going to sell even sooner.

He says it's the result of a pandemic creating an influx of new boaters
looking for something to do but at a cheaper price. 

"Most new boaters want to start on something used to learn on," Smith said. 

"Not everybody can afford a new boat. that's made the used boats much harder to come by."

Unfortunately, there's no immediate change expected either. 

"It's hard to say. I thought it was only going to last a year or so and here we are with product shortages and long build processes. So at this rate, I don't see it changing for the next few years. I expected more used boats to come up on the market of people who tried it and didn't like it and that really didn't happen," Smith said. 

Kayaks could also be hard to find for another summer. 

Kevin Beckwith, owner of Gear for Adventure, says his store has about 15 to 20 kayaks.

Beckwith believes those will all be sold and there won't be any kayaks left at his two locations if anyone is trying to look in the middle of the summer. 

Beckwith says a lot of people still want kayaks and says there's a few reasons why they're quick to buy them. 

"I think a lot of it has to do with supply chain issues because it's all brands and demand on them is up but not enough to cause this kind of shortage. A lot of that is supply chain issues so if people see something that's available, they're just buying it because they're not going to be able to get it in the future," Beckwith said. 

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