Boat sales skyrocket: Safety needs to be top of mind for new boaters

Local News

BREWERTON, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Memorial Day marks the official start of the boating season and local boat dealers are busier than ever. 

With so many people on the water, they want to make sure everyone puts safety first.

Smith Boys Syracuse in Brewerton is selling out of boats quickly. 

General Manager of Smith Boys, Jay Lorenz, said they only have a few boats left. Almost everything in their showroom has been taken.

“Sales in new boats and in used boats have dramatically increased, I would say probably 135 to 145%,” said Lorenz.

Lorenz said they started to see a major jump in demand last May when people were coming from all over the Northeast to buy boats. 

“We also have a lot of new families boating, which for us here and throughout the entire association is fantastic because that’s what we need,” Lorenz said. “You know, them bringing their families on and then their kids become boaters.”

And with so many new people on the water, Dave White with New York Sea Grant recommends families take state safety courses. By the year 2025, it’ll be required for everybody. Anyone over the age of ten can sign up. It’ll be helpful, especially for occasions like this holiday weekend, where alcohol may be involved.

“One of your children, if they’re trained and certified and they’ve taken the class, can actually be your designated driver for the day so that’s why I always encourage families to take the course together,” said White. 

And if you learn nothing else before heading out on the water this weekend, White asks for boaters to remember the following…

“You need to have a life jacket of the right type, the right size, that’s U.S. Coast guard approved, on board for everybody,” White said.

For those new first timers, though boat dealers are busy, they’re ready to help.

“If you have any questions that you need or (if you’re) in doubt of any safety equipment that you need, just call,” Lorenz said.

To find a state-run boater safety course in your area, click here.

For a free BoatUS Foundation’s Online Course, click here.

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