Pandemic boat industry boom leaves charitable program in its wake

As we finally get a glimpse of a post-COVID-19 world, one of the areas experiencing an unexpected increase in demand is boating. Builders and manufacturers alike are drowning in orders for this socially distant activity, leaving the secondary boat market exceedingly competitive.

“I have never seen such panic buying in my 43 years in this industry. Everyone wants to get out on the water…There are not enough boats to satisfy this market” says Pat Sturges, a guest columnist in the March 2021 edition of Canadian Yachting Magazine.

At the Adaptive Sailing Association of BC (ASABC), formerly known as the Disabled Sailing Association of BC, we know how freeing being on the water can be. For over 30 years, ASABC has been providing opportunities for people with physical disabilities to experience recreational and competitive sailing in fully accessible sailboats.

Operating out of the Jericho Sailing Club, ASABC operates eight specially designed Martin 16 sailboats and provides an average of 800+ sails each summer. Specifically designed to be accessible for all levels of ability, Martin 16 sailors can use either joystick controls or sip and puff technology to independently control their vessel. Participants of all ages range from novices to experienced racers, representing ASABC in local regattas and national competitions.

“The popularity of boating (sailing in particular) is reflected in the popularity of our program, which is running at capacity,” says Brad Davies, Coordinator for ASABC’s Breeze boat donation program, “the smiles of the clients at the end of the sail is rewarding to watch”.

Breeze is a unique fundraising program, providing a full array of services to ease the process of getting into or out of boat ownership. Facilitated by Brad, clients are able to donate their boat to the program and receive a tax receipt for the full, independently assessed value of the vessel. Through selling the donated boats, Breeze brings in much needed operating revenues for the ASABC. However, with the current uptake in demand for boat ownership and its resulting market, Breeze is left with minimal donation prospects.

“The Breeze program has been updated to facilitate an effortless transfer of ownership and reflect the generosity of the donor, all while providing an affordable retail market for those seeking a boat. What we need now are the boats!”

Brad Davies, ASABC’s Breeze Boat Donation Coordinator

The pandemic never slowed down ASABC’s capacity to provide sailing experiences and as we enter into the 2021 summer season, the wait lists have already begun! Funds are needed now more than ever to sustain the program’s ability to keep up with its popularity.

If you, or someone you know, is looking to sell a sailboat or powerboat this year, consider visiting or contacting Brad at to learn about the powerful impact of a donation.