AC & WILDWOOD Shows Cancelled, Although Boat Sales Are Still Up - The Fisherman

AC & WILDWOOD Shows Cancelled, Although Boat Sales Are Still Up

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced in February that it was officially cancelling this year’s Atlantic City Boat Show which was set to run April 7-11.

Originally scheduled for February, NMMA had postponed the Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show to April of 2021 in hopes of still being able to host the event at the Atlantic City Convention Center in light of the pandemic.  On February 18 NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer said that canceling the 2021 boat show was deemed the most prudent course of action.

“The decision to cancel the Progressive Insurance Atlantic City Boat Show is the result of our continued due diligence to ensure a safe, successful, and high-quality experience with health and safety top of mind for everyone involved,” Hugelmeyer said in an official announcement.

“While we have had to cancel NMMA’s winter 2021 boat shows, we stand ready to deliver world-class events, including the Atlantic City Boat Show, and will be back stronger than ever next year to help drive sales for the recreational boating industry,” Hugelmeyer added.  NMMA also manages the Progressive Insurance New York Boat Show which is also set to return in January 2022 after being cancelled earlier this year due to COVID-19.

Also cancelled in 2021 is the Wildwood Fishing & Boating Expo originally slated for April 10-11, 2021.  In an email to show vendors on March 10, show organizer Gerry Vessels said he was forced to cancel this year’s event due to the COVID-19 protocols still in place in March, but was excited about the 2022 event.  “I have decided to move the Expo to January 8th & 9th, 2022, with the idea of capitalizing on being the first Expo in the State of New Jersey and literally one of the first on the east coast since February of 2020,’ Vessels said in his email, adding that he’s still working on final 2022 details with the Wildwood Convention Center.

Despite the ongoing pandemic NMMA reports that retail unit sales of new powerboats in the U.S. increased last year by an estimated 12 percent compared to 2019. More than 310,000 new powerboats were sold in 2020, levels the recreational boating industry has not seen since before the Great Recession in 2008.

Calling 2020 “an extraordinary year for new powerboat sales,” Hugelmeyer said the data shows that more Americans took to the water to escape pandemic stress while enjoying the outdoors safely. “For the first time in more than a decade, we saw an increase in first-time boat buyers, who helped spur growth of versatile, smaller boats – less than 26 feet – that are often towed to local waterways and provide a variety of boating experiences, from fishing to watersports,” Hugelmeyer added.

Particular categories helped drive record sales in 2020 including personal watercraft, wake boats, and freshwater fishing boats and pontoons boats.  NMMA believes boat sales will remain at historic levels in 2021 as manufacturers continue to fill a backlog of orders from 2020.  “We expect consumer interest in boating to remain strong through 2021 and beyond, with millions of Americans discovering the mental health benefits and joys of being outside and on the water,” noted Hugelmeyer.  For more information go to