Boat sales rise in tidal wave of virus concerns

Boulder Boats, which has a location in Visalia, says boat sales were up 50% last month compared with 2019

The Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – Not every aspect of the economy is negatively affected by the coronavirus as consumers shift their spending to products that help them avoid crowds. A surprise winner in the surge of public panic has been recreational boat sales.

Per Oxford Economics, “Over 40% of consumer spending is linked to ‘social situations’ and (some are) at risk from people avoiding crowds.” One alternative to crowded concerts or airports is outdoor recreation, and boating has piqued the interest of many. This new behavior has introduced new consumers to boating, and the industry is growing.

Nevada-based Boulder Boats, which operates a dealership in Visalia, claims new boat sales up 34% year over year, used boat sales up 58%, and February 2020 gross receipts for the dealer group is up more than 50% for the same period last year.

“Spending time with your family on a boat away from the crowds and cell phones is always a good investment,” said Stuart Litjens, who co-owns the family business with his wife. “Boating is one of the few activities a family can do together that is fun for all regardless of age or physical ability. Kids are off their phones, and time on the water brings families together again.”

It is business as usual for the boat dealer as they ramp up for the boating season. “Now, with interest rates cut, lake levels up, and fuel prices dropping, it is a great time to introduce new people to the boating lifestyle we are so passionate about,” co-owner Kristina Litjens said.

Avid water sports enthusiasts, the Litjenses established the dealership in 2004 and pride themselves on its integrity and outstanding reputation for genuine, and exceptional service as well as extensive product and industry knowledge resulting in Boulder Boats being continually ranked as one of the Top 100 Marine Dealers in the United States. Factory-Authorized dealer for Malibu Boats, Axis Wake Research, Chaparral Boats, Robalo Boats, Skeeter Bass Boats, Starcraft Pontoons, and an Authorized service center for Yamaha Outboard Motors, PCM, Indmar, Malibu Motors, and Volvo.

Boulder Boats currently offers an extensive inventory of new and used boats, full service department and pro-shop servicing Southern Nevada, Southern Utah, Arizona, and California. The Visalia location, 15366 E. Mineral King Ave. in Visalia, is the only Boulder Boats dealership in California. For more information, call 559-734-7471 or visit

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