Pandemic-related shortages remain for boats, RVs and everything in between


INDIANAPOLIS — It’s become a common occurrence amid the pandemic to expect there to be shortages of just about everything you can think of.

One thing people rediscovered thanks to the pandemic’s peak last year was the great outdoors, and with it come shortages abounded for RVs and boats.

Local dealers say the craze hasn’t slowed. In fact, they’re busier now than ever before. 

“I thought I had my best year ever last year, but this year is turning out to be even better than last year,” said Keith Dix, president of Touchdown RV Rentals. “But it didn’t start out that way last year. It started off with cancellations, lots of them, you know cause everything was shut down. Campgrounds were shut down, and I always say we kinda did a ‘V.’ We had cancellations, then it took off.”

While Dix’s expertise is in rentals, he’s expanded his Zionsville business to include selling used RVs, parts and services; he’s got shortages on all fronts. 

“Things are booked up actually. July is usually our peak season so, that’s one of those things, you probably shoulda had the reservation in by now if you want to find one to rent,” Dix said. “Even sales, dealers can’t get their hands on units to sell – there’s just no inventory to move.”

There are several openings on Touchdown RV’s schedule, but they are filling up fast for the summer. 

Whether it be land or sea, your luck won’t change much. It might be worse on the water. 

“It’s real difficult. Demand is fantastic, but if you don’t have anything to sell anybody, it’s kinda depressing,” said Dan Decker, owner of Denny’s Marina. “This is not business as usual.”

Denny’s Marina’s showroom is typically filled with 80-plus new vessels this time of year, but now most you see inside and out have already sold. 

“We did run out of inventory, and then the selling kept continuing, so we were ordering a lot of boats for this year, and we weren’t able to really restock and load up like we wanted,” Decker explained. “Literally, everything is just struggling to get produced.”

In boating from inner tubes to cleaning solvents, even the foam to make cushions are all on back order. If you want a boat, you’ll likely have to wait as even preowned boats sail fast.

“We actually only have two of those left, so it’s interesting times in this business, but it’s a good problem to have,” Decker said. “We’ll probably see this cycle for at least another season just because there’s zero inventory out there. I’m already selling boats for next year.”

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