Rising tide in boat sales as Bay Area looks to sail away from COVID-19

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Boat sales surge as Bay Area looks to social distance
Social distancing by boating has become so popular amid the COVID-19 pandemic that at businesses like Inland Marine in Antioch, buyers have little stock from which to choose. Pontoon party boats are most popular as sales surge, owner Frank Lozano said.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KGO) -- Even in the dock, a 30-foot cabin cruiser serves as a get-a-way for Eddie Brassfield of Antioch.

If he didn't have an excuse for owning it before, he certainly does now.

"For me, I come down to the harbor and like to fish. I am three miles away from the nearest people."

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That may hint at the latest lifestyle wrinkle from COVID-19. Social distancing by boating has become so popular that at places like Inland Marine in Antioch, wanna-be-boat buyers have little stock from which to choose.

Owner Frank Lozano says sales have doubled this year.

"When you ask about negotiating the price? There are people standing in line for the same boat," Frank is talking about Pontoon party boats in particular. Imagine a floating living room for 12 people "We're all sold out, new and used."

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"It was pretty surreal." After three months at sea, a Bay Area sailing crew returned to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is a matter of supply and demand, with COVID-19, a double whammy. First, the boat factories closed due to the pandemic. Now, there is a crush to buy them to escape from it. Jason McCoy, for example, bought one of the last pontoon boats three months ago. He and his family canceled their other vacation plans, and have taken that boat out on the delta almost every week. Jason has no buyer's remorse or COVID-19.

"It's just me and my family out there. We go out and have a good time. You don't have to worry about being around people."

For once, anyway.

"If I had known I would have ordered more boats," said Frank Lozano.

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