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Old 03-29-2015, 04:38 PM   #1
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Boaters - Who We Are - Interesting Industry Demographics & Statistics

I originally posted this in another thread - actually a pretty silly one that started out about the affordability of boating now vs the past... but got way off into the weeds w/ discussion on rich vs poor, happy vs sad, hungry, homeless... etc.

I received enough positive responses I thought it might be worth posting as a new thread.
I hope others find this interesting and a confirmation that boating is lots of fun and attainable by those that choose to pursue their passions.

I'm a "show me the data" type guy and prefer facts vs opinions, generalizations & hearsay that, at times, are all too common on TF

I have done a little digging in boating industry data as part of a project to save a NY State park marina - unfortuantely we will likely lose the battle - but that's beside the point I'd like to make here.

The following are excerpts from
"NMMA 2011 RECREATIONAL BOATING INDUSTRY OVERVIEW"
and I consider FACTS! (Emphasis added is mine)

Industry Snapshot
Of the 231.5 million adults living in the United States in 2010, 32.4 percent, or 75 million people, participated in recreational boating.
This is the highest proportion of participation in recreational boating since 1999

These 75 million boaters represent an increase of 14 percent compared to the 65.9 million people who went boating during the recessionary year of 2009.
Boaters increased their spending on operating costs (insurance, docking, fuel, maintenance and boating outings) by 3.6 percent from $8.4 million in 2009 to $8.7 million in 2010

Estimated Average Price of Boats.
The average retail price of a new traditional powerboat (outboard, inboard, sterndrive, jet boat) in 2010 was $34,675, a decrease of 5.8 percent over 2009.
Average price of a pre-owned powerboat (with engine) in 2010 was $14,039, an increase of four percent from 2009.
Pre-owned powerboats accounted for 83 percent of all power and sailboats sold in 2010, up one percentage point from the previous year.

Boating by Participation.
Of the 231.5 million adults living in the United States in 2010, 32.4 percent, or 75 million people, participated in recreational boating.
This is the highest proportion of participation in recreational boating since 1999 when 33.4 percent of adults went boating.
The 75 million boaters on the water in 2010 represent an increase of 14 percent compared to the recessionary year of 2009, during which went 65.9 million participated in boating.
The Great Lakes region had the greatest number of recreational boaters in 2010; approximately two of ten participants or 17 million boaters lived there in 2010.

Boater Demographics.
Boating continues to remain a middle-class recreational activity with 83 percent of boating participants in 2010 having a household income under 100,000.
This is an increase of 1.4 percent in the number of middle-class participants over 2009.
People who boat as children are more likely to boat as adults; 77 percent of boating participants in 2010 boated as children.
Current boating participants were more likely to be male, younger than 50 and have a household income of $25,000–$75,000 in 2010.
Approximately 15 percent of boating participants in 2010 were age 65 or older; 21 percent were retired, up nine percent and ten percent respectively.
END OF NMMA Report Excerpts

My $.02...
Like Mick I have fond memories of our family boating growing up.
As a result I and my 2 brothers all own boats - very different boats and we boat differently.
We live within our means and we prioritize "things" in our lives differently. But... for those that choose to participate in boating it is as possible as it ever was... how you choose to boat is a decision everyone has to make and the possibilities are bounded by your available resources ($ being only one - knowledge, ability & desire to do your own work others...) and how you prioritize.

From the data above it appears to me that...
  1. Boating = getting on the water - and that's what counts... a case where size doesn't matter - first priority is get out there any way you can
  2. Costs are increasing roughly in line w/ inflation
  3. The demographics confirm that boating continues to be a middle class activity - with hi% participation
  4. If you boated as a child you will likely continue to boat as an adult
  5. New boat sales are a small % of the participation and is not a good gauge of the cost of boating
  6. If we choose to boat we can find a way
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Old 03-29-2015, 05:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
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75 million people, participated in recreational boating....

...their spending on operating costs (insurance, docking, fuel, maintenance and boating outings) $8.7 million...
So the average boater spends less than 12 cents per year in operating costs?!

Quote:
[*]If you boated as a child you will likely continue to boat as an adult
Maybe, but the report you cite only says that if you boat as an adult, it is likely you boated as a child.
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:59 PM   #3
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So the average boater spends less than 12 cents per year in operating costs?!

Maybe, but the report you cite only says that if you boat as an adult, it is likely you boated as a child.
QB

Point #1 - That's what the excerpt from the report implies... however... the rest of the story -
Obviously the largest # of boats are the smaller sizes where trips are probably one day vs multi days so docking$, etc are infrequent. I'm not sure how they define maintenance but another section of the report states...
"Repair and service costs led boat owners’ expenditures, totaling $2.5 billion in 2010, followed closely by fuel costs, which totaled $2.4 billion and storage costs, which totaled $1.9 billion. Aftermarket accessory sales increased six percent to $2.4 billion (from $2.3 billion in 2009) and
spending per boat averaged $147 for 2010, also up six percent from 2009."

I don't know how they differentiate "operating" $ from "repairs & service $" when they mention fuel in two locations - one part of $2.4B the other part of $8.7M???

Point #2 - Agree - your point is well taken. I would guess the corollary might be true but I don't have the data to confirm it.
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Old 03-29-2015, 09:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bacchus View Post
I don't know how they differentiate "operating" $ from "repairs & service $" when they mention fuel in two locations - one part of $2.4B the other part of $8.7M???
I guess probably they meant $8.7 billion instead of million. The repair, fuel, storage etc. breakdown adds up to about that.

$147 per boat... still a little bit less than I spend in a year .
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:10 PM   #5
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My takeaway from all that I'm pretty average.

I do question the figures for the costs of new and used boats....
"Estimated Average Price of Boats.
The average retail price of a new traditional powerboat (outboard, inboard, sterndrive, jet boat) in 2010 was $34,675, a decrease of 5.8 percent over 2009.
Average price of a pre-owned powerboat (with engine) in 2010 was $14,039, an increase of four percent from 2009. "

My guess would have been much higher for the average price of new boats and higher for the used.

$14,000 doesn't buy much of a boat, even when it's an old aluminum jon boat with a small kicker.

When you look around at the proliferation of new boats that range in the $65K-$100K range, I'm at a loss as to how they came up with the $34,000 figure. Their figures must have included inflatables, kayaks, canoes, RIB's and other very small boats.

I did some searching and found the NMMA figures for 2011. They included the info shown above for 2010.

http://nmma.net/assets/cabinets/Cabi...ct_preview.pdf

Of interest was graph 5.1 which showed total inboard boat sales by year and also dollars sold by year.

Interestingly, in 2006 when unit sales and dollars sold peaked, the average cost per inboard boat sold was $43,298. According to the figures supplied, in 2010 the average cost for the same category of boat was $58,786. That's a whopping 35% increase in the cost per boat. Holy CRAP, that is a huge increase in just 4 years.

What's up with that? It's no wonder boat makers are expanding their facilities. They're sticking it to new boat buyers.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:36 PM   #6
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My boat (being one of the smaller and cheaper boats among us forum members) is far bigger and more expensive than the average boat. The majority of boats are in driveways and backyards, and may only get used a couple times a year.


We aren't average. We are the lucky few.
I don't mean to sound elitist; I just appreciate the opportunity to get out on the water with a boat that many people can only dream of.
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Old 03-30-2015, 02:01 PM   #7
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A couple of notes

In many of these surveys of the boating industry, PWC is included. I don't know if that's the case in this one.

As to the low cost of boats, fishing boats (not bass boats) and pontoon boats (not the premium five star hotel type) have a large percentage of the market.

One thing this points out is that this forum and the people on it represent a very small segment of boating as do other sites on trawlers or yachts. The bass boat or fisherman sites represent a larger group.

And, consistently the past few year, PWC's have increased, outboard boats have increased significantly, stern drive sales have been down and inboards have been up slightly recently.

The buying public adjusts. A large percentage of those who would have purchased stern drives 10 years ago, now choose an outboard. Cost always favored outboards but now there are higher hp engines.

I have to often remind myself that living in Fort Lauderdale I see a very significant segment of the yacht industry, I see a very large number of smaller boats too, but in that category South Florida is still only a small segment of boats sold.
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