By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — If you are having a hard time finding a new or used boat these days, you aren’t alone and you can blame it on the coronavirus pandemic.

Boating is a great way to social distance in the middle of the ocean and its becoming so popular, boat factories are scrambling to catch up with demand.

When Miami-Dade marinas reopened after being shuttered during the pandemic, there was a huge rush to the water.

Boaters wearing face masks get underway after putting their boat into the water at the Crandon Park Marina boat ramp on April 29, 2020 in Miami (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Boating is a great water-bound respite from the coronavirus doldrums and restrictions.

“Boating is social distancing at its finest,” said Krissy Wiborg from Bob Hewes Boats.

Bob Hewes Boats in North Miami has been selling boats for over 90 years and can’t keep a large inventory.

“Sales are at an all-time high, inventory is at an all-time low and we have never seen anything like it,” explained Wiborg.

According to National Marine Manufacturers Association, 70% of dealers nationwide reported increased sales this spring. Boat sales were up 59% in May over April.

“We are seeing more younger people coming in and buying boats than we normally would, it gives them something to do, to get out,” said Wiborg.

Families are looking for vacation opportunities and activities that keep them close to home, social distancing they can control. Boat financing is attractive due to low interest rates. the nationwide boat retailer MarineMax reported that nearly three fourths of its online inquiries are from first time buyers.

“A lot of the manufacturers had to step up production. They came back expecting a lull in productions and they have had to scramble to ramp up production. Right now every single manufacturer is backed up on production lines,” explained Wiborg.

Sales of used boats also jumped 74% this year.

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