The Wharf Boat & Yacht Show is back this year, and there are deals to be had!
By Jim Cox
Boating has never been more popular along the Gulf Coast and throughout the country than it is right now. This isn’t a new phenomenon; boat sales have been booming for years. And when the pandemic hit, people started looking for more ways to spend time outdoors, which drove even more boat sales.
Spring has always been the busiest and best time on the calendar to buy a boat, and boat shows are usually the driving force for those sales. But like a lot of things, boat shows have been shut down for the past couple of years.
“We were coming off record-setting, back-to-back years for not only show attendance but also for dealer sales,” says Chris Miller, with The Wharf Boat & Yacht Show in Orange Beach, AL. “We had multiple years with more than $20 million in reported dealer sales at our show, and 2020 was shaping up to be another fantastic year. And then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t.” The Wharf Boat & Yacht Show was one of the first significant events on the Gulf Coast to be canceled due to COVID-19 in March of 2020.
But this year, the show will return on March 18-20 with boat dealers, potential buyers, and the boating and fishing community all ready to return to The Wharf. “We’ve always leaned heavily on our dealer partners for guidance with the show, even before the pandemic, but never as much as we have in trying to figure out when the right time was to move forward with the show again,” says Miller. “And we all agree that the time is now.”
The outdoor-based show allows plenty of open space for both would-be boat buyers and those just looking to compare boats side-by-side. Hundreds of models will be on display both on land and in the water at The Wharf Marina.
Boat shows allow consumers to see many makes and models in a single day instead of driving from dealership to dealership. And don’t think for a minute that the dealers aren’t aware of this fact. Dealers bring their boats to boat shows for one reason—to sell them. They know you’re shopping, and they know you’re talking with other dealers at the show. They know they need to make the best possible deal for you because the competition for your business is fierce.
Boat manufacturers know this, too. So they support their dealers by offering special incentives to buyers, which are usually only available during the show.
If you’ve ever wondered if “boat show pricing” was a real thing, ask anyone who’s been in the market for a boat the past couple of years. There have been no boat deals to be had, but they’ll return for at least three days in March, as will The Wharf Boat & Yacht Show.
The Wharf Boat & Yacht Show
March 18-20, 2022
Orange Beach, AL