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New York boat show: ‘Supply chain was awful’ post-pandemic, Regulator Marine president says

Yahoo Finance’s Pras Subramanian joins the Live show to discuss key takeaways from the New York Boat Show.

Video Transcript


- US boat builders climbing aboard the pandemic-fueled boom in outdoors recreation. The industry saw 2022 become the second-highest ranked year in marine spending, totaling a whopping $56.7 billion. And they expect the momentum to continue into 2023, this according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

We caught up with this association and several American boat builders at the New York Boat Show. Here with more is Yahoo Finance's Pras Subramanian. Pras?

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: That's right, Soz. The New York Boat Show is the oldest boat show in the country, believe it or not-- just concluded here in New York. Recreational boating is still going strong off the pandemic highs with demand so strong boat makers couldn't keep up, the main pain points being a combination of high demand, missing parts, even freak weather all jamming up production. We spoke to the president of Regulator Marine about why it was so hard to ship these boats.

JOAN MAXWELL: The supply chain was awful. I mean, we couldn't tell our customers when we were going to deliver a boat because we were running out of things. We ran what we call a waterfall chart. And that waterfall chart was to actually show us when we were going to run out of different components. And we would look-- we-- resin-- I mean, who would have thought in the middle of a pandemic you would have an ice storm in Texas that would disrupt a boat process?

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Yeah, that resin needed to make those hulls and keep them watertight. Regulator Marine's a big fishing boat brand. Count celebrity owner chef-- celebrity chef, like owners Tom Colicchio, who we saw there at the show looking at some Regulator Marine boats. I think he'll be able to get a boat, though. I think.

- Yeah, I mean, if they can get the parts they need to build the boat that he wants, I guess. She talked about that ice storm which obviously was a freak kind of one-off. But are supply chain problems still happening?

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Yeah, they're still kind of-- they're here and there. Yeah, the main supply chain problems are sort of what-- they're still sawing in the pandemic-- they saw in the pandemic, and they're still seeing a bit of those now. We spoke to the NMMA head about that as well, and here's what he told us too.

FRANK HUGELMEYER: 95% of the boats here are made in America. It's a made-in-America product, a dominant made-in-America industry that exports. But a lot of the inputs come from offshore and parts that go into the boats while they're manufactured here. Like all the industries, we saw disruptions in the semiconductor area. And if you look at just a bo-- one engine, you could have 150 semiconductor chips just in that engine.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Yeah, so that old chip crisis affecting the boat and the boating industry too. And it's going to get even worse because they're doing a lot of autonomous and EV-type technology in these boats. So it might even be kind of-- it might even slow down that rollout even more.

- Wow. This was really interesting. And you're taking a look at some of the boat builders there on the screen. I mean what was the overall takeaway from the expo, the conference itself?

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Yeah, these guys are fairly positive on the industry going forward. They think that people are-- they bought a lot of boats in the pandemic. They still like the boating kind of lifestyle. They're seeing-- a lot of these companies are telling me that they have allocations already-- they're already done for the year in 2023, even 2024. So the boating industry is still pretty strong right now. So they're fairly positive on the industry despite the fact that we have a lot of these macro headwinds coming up potentially.

- What's the vibe of the boat show? I've been to the New York Car Show, right? And there you really get a broad swath of different people. I've been with my kids before. Like, what's the crowd like at the boat show? Were there are a lot of people there? What was it like?

- We went on the second day, which is Thursday. And over the weekend, it's a much bigger crowd. But a lot of dealers, a lot of passionate people, like Tom Colicchio, walking around. A lot of big people who are fishing-- the fishing-- fishermen industry-- huge.

People lo-- they're very passionate. They want new boats. They want these nice boats to go out. They're very competitive. They go out all year round, right, not just the summer. So for the fishing industry-- or the boating industry, they love that kind of subset. But also people like you or I who maybe live by the water, Soz--

- How do you get these assignments, Pras? I've been watching this. I mean, this is plush stuff, my man.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: Yeah, you know, a little afternoon action today at the Javits Center.

- Just because he's at the Javits Center--

- That's kind of cool.

- --doesn't mean he's buying the boat.

- That's true. Oh, that's-- he's not telling us. But he may be. He may be.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: I've only driven a pontoon boat, OK.


So that's about the extent of my captaining.

- I mean, I saw Doug E. Fresh perform once at the Auto Show. I wonder who the performer is, if anybody performs at the boat show?

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: It's probably Christopher Cross, someone like that. [INAUDIBLE]

- Oh, that would be very appropriate.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: You hear a lot of yacht rock because that's what people play, right?

- Or maybe Leonardo DiCaprio. He was on the "Titanic," right?


PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: A little violin--


- --margarita boat pop-up, I feel like would be good.

PRAS SUBRAMANIAN: A lot of Jimmy Buffett, yeah, yeah.

- I'm sure. All right. Thanks, Pras.