New survey shows boaters will pay to play

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Boat owners say high gas prices won't keep them off the water this summer, but will have them easing off the throttle more often, according to a new survey by Nationwide Mutual Insurance, the company reported in a statement yesterday.

Boat owners surveyed indicated they are willing to “pay to play,” saying gas prices would have to nearly double before they change their lifestyle.

“When talking with our customers about boating we learned that while they're concerned about rising fuel prices, the passion they have for their boats override those concerns,” said Greg Blanchard, Nationwide's vice president of Specialty Products. “What they say is that they'll look to cut costs elsewhere.”

Nationwide's survey, conducted by The Brandware Group, Inc. of 2,544 power boat, bass boat, motorcycle and ATV owners, shows that two-thirds of boat owners indicated high fuel prices would not cause them to use their boats less often. In fact, boat owners are willing to pay about $2.70 more per gallon for fuel before they will consider docking their boats.

According to the survey, boat owners will be on the water just as often as last summer - about 20 times - but expect to run their engines about 25 minutes less per trip.

Boat owners reported they spend 28 percent of their total leisure time on the water and 36 percent of boat owners consider their time boating more important than all other leisure time.

Boat owners surveyed have been engaged in the activity for more than 17 years and have owned their current boat for about 6 years. About 80 percent plan to continue boating when they retire. Over the past five years, enthusiasts invested $6,848 on improvements and accessories for their power boats and $5,208 for their bass boats, according to the insurance company.

According to the survey, one in five power boat owners and one in three bass boat owners do not have insurance on their boat. Of those with insurance, about 35 percent don't have liability coverage. About 40 percent of power boat owners and 53 percent of bass boat owners don't have collision coverage. About one in five power boat owners and a quarter of all bass boat owners would rather take their chances than pay to fully insure their boats.

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