you're reading...

Cornelius News

Ed Watkins closes boat dealership on W. Catawba

Ed Watkins Facebook screen shot

March 20. by Dave Yochum. It’s a good time to be buying a new boat, not so much to be selling them. The industry is down due to interest rates and ongoing shifts in consumer confidence, especially around big-ticket items.

Ed Watkins Marine in Cornelius has closed, with no apparent plans to reopen any time soon. Ed Watkins, a former NASCAR pit star and pit crew coach, could not be reached for comment.

Ed Watkins | Facebook screen shot


The National Marine Manufacturers Association says 2023 was a disappointing year for new powerboat retail sales and 2024 is expected to be a repeat.

A veteran Lake Norman boat dealer said he “pulled way back” on inventory and expenses last year because he saw the slowdown coming.

“It seemed obvious it was coming to me but making it through ’08 and ’09 gave me a different perspective,” he said, adding that Watkins’ Denver location has apparently closed as well.

High interest rates have softened demand and increased carrying costs. Meanwhile, there are left-over 2023 models galore that are being sold at extremely low margins, the boat dealer said.


“It’s a good time to buy a boat but a bad time to be in the boat business,” the Lake Norman boat dealer said.

In 2022, sales of new powerboat, engine, trailer and accessories in North Carolina reached $1.37 billion, up 10.4 percent from 2021

Ed Watkins Marine