National boat shortage causing headaches for Kansas City area stores and rentals


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — If your holiday weekends include boating, consider yourself fortunate.

Right now there’s an ongoing national boat shortage and it’s making most kinds of watercraft impossible to find.

“We still have boats coming in that were ordered last winter, Carl Johnson with Sportsman’s Outfitter and Marine in Belton said.

Boats are hard to come by due to a national shortage. Johnson is still taking orders but 2022’s line of boats won’t be available for months to come.

“Last summer, we ran out of boats around the Fourth of July,” Johnson said. “This year, we’ve been out of boats, for all intents and purposes, for a month now.”

It’s an odd byproduct of the pandemic that’s causing the shortage. Last year’s production shutdown coincided with the spread of COVID-19 and when everyone went outdoors for recreation, boat sales saw their biggest hike in 13 years.

“People who are waiting for the first of the year to shop for a boat are finding there’s very slim pickins,” Johnson said. “There are several marinas around that rent boats.”

But many of them are sold out for the Memorial Day weekend, including Jackson County, where there isn’t a single rental boat left.

In Johnson County, Kansas, parks and rec officials still have rentals but they’re in demand.

Richard Smalley from Johnson County Parks and Rec said rentals are going to go quickly at the county’s two public marinas.

“It will definitely pick up,” Smalley said. “People are going to wait and see what the weather looks like but it looks like it’s going to be really nice.”

Last minute boat enthusiasts may need to go the old fashioned route. Find a friend to spend this weekend with one who owns a boat.

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