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Don’t forget about half the population

By Mike Davin, online editor, Boating Industry The very first post we published on this blog was about savvy companies looking outside their traditional demographics to target women and girls with their marketing. At the time, I hoped we'd start to see more of that in the marine industry, but in the ensuing year I haven't seen a lot of new boating initiatives aimed at women.

That's why I was happy to learn that Nautique is hosting a wakeboarding clinic for girls at its corporate headquarters later this month. What a great memory it will be for the girls who attend — and what a great motivation to buy a boat later in life after they’ve caught the wakeboarding bug or they want to share a similar experience with their own children.

To be fair, other companies have sought to encourage female boaters as well. Sea Ray and MarineMax brought financial expert Suze Orman to the Miami Boat Show to promote the Woman on Water program, which offers basic boating courses to women. And many leading dealers offer their own version of a Ladies at the Helm course.

Do you think more programs targeting women are needed? Have I missed any such campaigns from the past year? If you have any efforts you'd like to share, feel free to tell people about them in the comments section.

2 comments

  1. In 2005, when I began single hand sailing on Lake Erie. I would see maybe 1 or 2 other women at the helm as I headed out the channel. That's still a rare sight. Like many women, I do not own my own boat. However, I do a fair amount of maintenance on the one I use. It's less costly, less fuss for a single woman to use somebody else's boat. Affordability is a big obstacle to women owning their own vessels. What I've observed about women and boating is this: we may be able to buy and dock our own boats, but the cost of hiring out repairs and upkeep is too much. While men either master or muddle through repairs and maintenance, most of us gals need to hire out the work either because we don't have the skills, interest or time. Time. That is another obstacle. Women's double- or triple shifts combining job + family + whatever else leave little time for costly recreation. The numbers of women who enjoy boating with their husbands and significant others seems high. Some of these gals are capable boaters, but many remain intimidated by the vessels or feel that boating is a predominantly male domain (which it IS.) In other words, they stick to the galley. I'd be interested in knowing more about market research on women and boating. Are my observations accurate or am I missing something or are there significant regional differences?

  2. On Long Island, women don't need "initiatives" to get them involved in boating. Our magazine, "Boating Times Long Island," has a readership that is 50% women.

    Women boaters tell us they are equally involved in planning day trips on their boats and in using our downloadable routes. They also share with us how much they like our editorial, which helps them have more fun on their boats!

    Women on Long Island love their boats!

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