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All Hands on Deck!

As people search for social activities that strike a balance between safety and recreation, time on the water is time well spent.

The summer of 2020 became a season fraught with changing habits and expectations of how to enjoy the most treasured time of the year. Families and social circles were hungry for opportunities to gather together, all while being carefully conscious of remaining safe and healthy. It is therefore no surprise that getting out on the water suddenly became an attractive and viable option for both experienced and novice boaters. The boating industry as a whole has been significantly impacted by the increased interest and investment the public has had on available inventory, supply lines, dock space and overall activity. Whether you are in the market for a new or used vessel, looking to repair or restore a boat you already own or just want to get out and enjoy the Cape and Islands from a different point of view, there are plenty of options to experience one of the region’s greatest assets.

Matt Thompson from Oyster Harbors Marine in Osterville says that while some of the timelines for delivery of new boats extend into 2022, there is still selection within both their new and used boat inventory. “We are lucky that our relationships with our customers have been built over many years,” says Thompson about the venerable boat yard that has been selling and servicing boats for the better part of 35 years. “When a client is ready to buy a new boat, we often take their previous vessel in trade, so we are lucky to have inventory.” Thompson also explains that the surge in the popularity of boating last summer was eye-opening. “We sold a brand new boat to a customer in August so his family could use it for two weeks before going back to their home in California. That was quite telling for us,” Thompson explains. As a result the company pro-actively ordered as much inventory as possible in anticipation of another busy season, positioning them with plenty of product for a wide variety of buyers.

Oyster Harbors represents 10 different manufacturers of boats that run the gamut from center consoles like Regulators and Everglades to serious off-shore fishing vessels capable of landing marlin, tuna and swordfish such as the Viking line of yachts. In addition, the yard’s Custom Shop can fabricate custom interiors and specialized equipment installations for some of the most discerning powerboat and sailboat clients around.

Thompson says that boating doesn’t have to be an all-in commitment for individuals or families. In fact, he notes that some of his happiest customers are those that find just the right slice of leisure time to enjoy their investment. “The high-quality day boats we offer are the perfect solution for that person that looks out the window and sees a great day shaping up and decides to take a few hours out on the boat. They make a couple of calls, pack a quick cooler and that’s it. They are able to jump aboard, with a few friends or family and go out for a quick cruise.”

John Cornish of Wareham’s Atlantic Boats confirms the popularity of the smaller boats like the Sea Pro and Carolina Skiffs that they represent. “A lot of our boats are used for fishing,” Cornish shares. “But they are also great for families. They are the perfect option to get to beaches that are less crowded or just go out for a ride.” Atlantic boats not only sells, and services new and used boats and parts, but their full-service operation includes a impressively stocked marine store and a full-service marina in quaint Onset Village that offers slip and mooring dockage on a seasonal basis, and transient dockage by the hour or overnight, as well as a popular waterside family restaurant.

When asked why he thinks boating activities have exploded in popularity since the beginning of the pandemic, Cornish says it is simple. “People are looking for things they can do with restrictions. The past year has been an endless rollout of everything people can’t do. When you are out on a boat, with people you know and trust, it is like going back to a happier, simpler time. You can just have some fun.”

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