Boat show returns, but supply chain issues could put damper on Minnesotans' dreams

Greg and Shirley Smith came all the way from Austin, Texas to buy a couple of boats for their new property on Sturgeon Lake just south of Duluth. But they'll have to act quickly if they want to make sure they are able to hit the water this summer.

"The truth is you gotta get ahead of the supply cycle now in this country. If you are thinking about any major purchase, and you want it five months from now, you better be buying it now," said Greg Smith.

After a year off because of the pandemic, the 2022 Progressive Minneapolis Boat Show is relaunching at the convention center with more than 600 watercrafts from fishing to pontoon boats and everything in between on display.

Show organizers say marine industry sales were up 14 percent in Minnesota in 2020 because of the pandemic, as many Minnesotans turned to the state's 10,000 lakes.

"The marine industry definitely found its niche with COVID because families recognized between fishing and water sport, boating is a great way to social distance and spend time with family and friends," said boat show manager Darren Envall.

Minneapolis Boat Show is being held at the Minneapolis Convention Center from Jan. 20-23.

But show organizers say supply chain issues have hampered demand, with many manufacturers typically taking six to eight months to deliver on orders.

Visitors to the boat show can get around that by buying floor models, and some dealers have boats in stock they are ready to sell.

"Supply chain issues have affected the marine industry just like any other industry, so it's great to be able to talk to them, custom order your boat and get an idea when it will be ready for you," said Envall.

The Smiths say they are ready to pull the trigger on their major purchases because they want to keep their hopes of spending the summer on the water afloat.

"Most everyone is saying they can deliver it in May. That means June, but as long as we have the bulk of next summer with what we are buying today, we'll be happy," said Smith.