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Shopping for a new boat? Looking for parts? Good luck!

By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON - | Jun 4, 2021

Capt. George Tunison

Spending several months in near isolation gave you plenty of time to finally sit down and design your perfect boat. You’ve researched every detail, picked a well-known brand, the right motor, all the gear, even fancy wheels for the trailer and even somehow convinced yourself that it’s OK, you’ve got the money, with the kids being fairly young; they really don’t need that college money right now anyway.

You’ve caught a bad case of spring boat fever and are finally ready to pull the trigger, but before you strut into the dealership with that wheel barrow full of cash, be prepared for a big time disappointment as many models of boats aren’t available and there is still an ongoing outboard motor shortage for all the major brands.

What? No motors? When will things get better? Sorry, no one knows. Everything is still way behind here and in Europe as boat builders, dealers and the consumers wait for back-ordered engines, parts and electronics that might not be here for many months or longer. A resin shortage has even slowed the industry’s production of boat hulls for many models.

The virus has caused much of the shortage problem as well as other factors, like bad winter storms in Texas causing massive damage to several important factories, including the only five plants in the USA that make a product called propylene oxide. PO, as its better known, is a critical raw material used to make the foam that’s used for seat cushions causing delays in finishing boat builds. These same storms also wiped out three major semiconductor plants which are in our GPS and bottom locators, as well as engines and any computer control, all requiring semiconductors to work.

The problem for boat builders is that seat cushions and semiconductors are only parts of the problem. Shortages of basic raw materials like aluminum, fiberglass, gel coat, stainless steel, vinyl and marine plywood are also an issue. The recent blockage of the Suez Canal even had a worldwide impact on moving marine equipment globally.

During the pandemic a huge demand for boats, motors and parts developed as folks took to the water like never before. This unprecedented surge in demand, coupled with virus, caused worldwide parts supply manufacturing shutdowns, which has brought things to a near standstill as the big names in the outboard motor game scramble to try to catch up, just on back-orders.

Calls this week to local dealers only resulted in being offered to be put on their long waiting lists. Don’t be surprised to see big price increases for 2022 marine products matching the already skyrocketing costs for everything else we need and use daily bought with ever shrinking U.S. dollar.

With the pre-virus, already astronomical costs of new boats packages plus ongoing shortages, those in the used boat market are demanding and getting top dollar for quality used boat packages.

Ready to sell Old Money Pit? Now’s the time! Just imagine; no more maintenance, fees, crowed ramps, fuel costs, cleaning, storage. Sounds blissful!

Not long ago I offered my old Action Craft flats boat for sale. Being in great shape it quickly sold to an Internet buyer in Texas and, at very close to what I paid for it many years before. If you’re waiting to buy new, you’ll just have to sit and wait quite a while till manufactures catch up. It’s time to give your old boat some love and keep it going for another year.

“They” say that today’s outboard engines typically last between 1,500 to 4,000 hours (or more) before needing major work or simply dying. Changing the oil and filters on a regular schedule will always add more hours to its useful life.

Unfortunately, many of us spend money on the boat or engine only when things go wrong. Good maintenance practices and associated costs are cheaper than expensive shop repairs. Neglect, saltwater and ethanol are the enemy.n.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. You can contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.