World Health Organization announces mysterious coronavirus-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China.
A Memorandum of Understanding with Transport Canada allows National Marine Manufacturers Associated-certified boats to enter Canada using American Boat & Yacht Council standards.
United States declares public health emergency.
Many states begin to shut down to attempt slowing the spread of the coronavirus; most marine manufacturers have at least temporarily suspended operations.
Statistical Surveys Inc. reports that 2019 sales of niche but increasingly popular ski and wake boats sold almost 11,000 units, surpassing the once ubiquitous sterndrive bowrider category; sterndrive sales dropped to a historical low of 9,441 units.
Regal announces it will shutter its 165,000-square-foot plant in Valdosta, Ga., and focus operations in its 500,000-square-foot world headquarters in Orlando, Fla. “This was a tough decision — unbelievably tough,” Regal CEO Duane Kuck said at the time. “There’s hardly anybody untouched by the impact of the coronavirus in one way or another.”
Senate Passes Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus bill.
March and April
The recreational boating industry began producing PPEs in the spring and continued into the summer.
The government rolls out the Paycheck Protection Program funding; the boating industry obtained more than $100 million in PPP between April and July.
ICAST Show canceled; shifts to digital format.
The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom declares the novel coronavirus outbreak a world pandemic.
April and May
Most marine businesses have recommenced operations to some degree.
After an initial lag, new-boat sales strongly rebounded in May, up 59 percent compared to April and up 9 percent from prepandemic levels on a seasonally adjusted basis, National Marine Manufacturers Association reported.
The NMMA hosted its American Boating Congress virtually for the first time, resulting in a record-breaking 900 attendees, 17 speakers, and top congressional and administration officials.
U.S. coronavirus death toll surpasses 100,000.
Statistical Surveys Inc. releases preliminary data showing that new boat registrations in June grew 20 percent year-over-year. Value-focused and entry-level segments performed especially well as people sought safe ways to recreate during the pandemic.
In a reversal of an ongoing decline — and indicative of the sudden crush of demand new boats during the pandemic — SSI reports registrations in the bowrider segment rose 12 percent after years of almost consecutive quarterly declines. Sterndrive bowrider registrations rose 8 percent, and outboard-powered bowriders jumped 50 percent.
NMMA partners with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas to launch a national marketing campaign tailored to the pandemic called “Get On Board.”
Newport International Boat Show canceled.
Boat registrations soared, rising 4.1 percent year-to-date in all categories, and 25.2 percent year-over-year, according to preliminary data from SSI.
Organizers announced that the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference will be held as a virtual event in response to the pandemic.
A strategic alliance between NMMA and MRAA merged Grow Boating into NMMA.
Groupe Beneteau rolls out an updated five-year strategic plan, which restructures management and seeks to shed four of its 12 brands, to effectively respond to hits taken during the global pandemic. Scarab was among the brands the group said it would eventually shed.
The Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law.
The City of Annapolis canceled its two fall boat shows because of concerns around the coronavirus pandemic.
Cannes Yachting Festival canceled.
Boat registrations for the month reflected the industry had more than recouped all of its initial losses due to the pandemic. Preliminary data from SSI showed new boat registrations rose 8.5 percent year to date in the main powerboat categories and 34.3 percent year over year. Every single category in the main powerboat segments was up at least 24 percent year over year; pontoons and bowriders were up 47 plus percent, and ski and wake was up 37.5 percent.’
Sept. 29-Oct. 2
For the first-ever IBEX Online, nearly 3,000 visitors registered from 25 countries to take part. Over 1,650 exhibitor representatives participated from 474 companies, representing 10 countries.
Southampton, Paris and Toronto Boat shows canceled.
The industry secured $850 million in the federal government’s fiscal year 2020 budget for Great Lakes and Everglades restoration, marine sanctuaries and outdoor recreation projects.
Metstrade 2020 — the world’s largest trade exhibition for equipment, materials and systems for the international leisure marine industry — shifts to an all-virtual format.
A scaled-down version Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show opened, despite most large shows around the globe being cancelled, postponed, or held virtually. The show ran through Nov. 1 and was touted as a success.
Info-Link Technologies Inc., a Florida firm that tracks new and used boat registrations, releases new data showing that almost all of the industry’s additional boat buyers through the pandemic were first-time buyers. The year will see roughly 25,000 more new boat purchases this year compared to last year — and more than 24,000 of those can be attributed to first-time buyers.
The NMMA announced substantial cancellations and postponements to its boat, RV and sport show lineup for the first quarter of next year, including the Miami International Boat Show.
The United States takes the global lead in cases of Covid-19, surpassing 8 million cases.
Informa postpones Miami Yacht Show.
The United States passes yet another grim milestone, logging 100,000 Covid-19 cases in a single day.
Joe Biden is declared winner of the presidential election after days of vote counting.
This article was originally published in the December 2020 issue.