There is no doubt in Stephen Cox’s mind about Bermuda’s best attribute, especially when it comes to wellbeing.
“It’s the ocean and the experience that you can have while out on a boat,” said the business development manager at PW Marine.
“That could be a multitude of different activities, whether it be water sports, fishing, cruising, parties, a family barbecue. It opens up this whole other world that exists within Bermuda.”
There are about 7,000 licensed private boats here, according to the Department of Marine & Ports Services, and Mr Cox says the number will increase this summer.
“The boating industry had worldwide the most growth it has had for ten years, over Covid,” he said.
“Boating was a way to get outside and actually experience normal life in a lot of cases.
“We haven’t seen 100 per cent of the same trend in Bermuda; however, we see factors of the same trend.
“We’ve seen a heavy growth in the amount of people wanting to get into the boating community, but also people trying to jump into that new boat market place.”
In terms of new boat sales, the real growth area in the past few years has been 30 to 65 foot vessels. Mr Cox said PW Marine’s “sweet spot” was 23 to 33 foot boats.
“That’s where we play, it’s where we see the most amount of success. Within those same ranges, you have a boat for everybody.
“While this is where we see the most success, we still have a number of Bermuda boaters going larger and we have the ability to offer that.”
Two of the most popular brands sold at PW Marine are Boston Whaler and Pursuit.
Mr Cox said: “They are kind of a hybrid of everything, in the sense that you can fish them, they have the cruising creature comfort amenities, and they are both fantastically well-built boats.
“They have always maintained a place in Bermuda’s market as being a quality, high-end, hybrid boating style.”
He added that the 25-foot Boston Whaler Dauntless is trending this year – PW Marine has already seen demand – with its centre console and ability to handle rough seas. It will arrive on island next month.
The dual console Pursuit 245 and 266 are also attracting much interest.
Customers looking for an entry-level boat have the option of a Sea Ray which, according to Mr Cox, has “lots of seating and entertaining space but comes at a lower price”.
At the top end of the market, the store sells Tiara and Valhalla, the former being very much for cruising and the latter fitted out with a “lot more fishing amenities”.
The cost of a pleasure boat can vary widely as they are almost always custom-built but would-be mariners can expect to spend anything from $50,000 to $500,000+, depending on the features they require, on a new vessel.
Mr Cox said: “When you buy new you get increased reliability, you are getting less errors. It’s a hassle-free experience versus what second-hand could be.”
Technology in the boating industry has come a long way in recent years and Mr Cox said customers are taking advantage of new features such as the Seakeeper gyroscope, which eliminates boat roll.
Those wanting to join the boating community need to plan ahead. Mr Cox advised that the best time to start deciding on the right vessel for you is at the summer’s end, to allow plenty of time for it to be ready for the start of the next season.
Choosing a boat – be it new or second-hand – is a decision you’re unlikely to regret.
“Bermuda is Bermuda and it’s about 23 miles long,” he explained. “As soon as you get a boat, that instantly triples in size.”