Boater survey suggests 2006 participation strong

SOUTHOLD, N.Y. – Professional marine assistance organization Sea Tow Services International Inc.’s 2006 boater statistics survey suggested over 70 percent of boaters spent the same or more time on the water last year compared to years past.

This year’s results were based on the first 1,000 respondents to complete the company’s annual online survey and are reflective of the boating habits of the active, recreational boating community, according to a recent statement from Sea Tow.

“ … much like last year, over 50 percent of the respondents indicated that, economic and fuel prices aside, they’ll remain in boating for the long haul,” said Ann Medford, Sea Tow’s communications director. “This year’s survey did, however, see a nearly 10 percent uptick in respondents looking to upgrade from their current boat.”

The ’06 Sea Tow survey also revealed that close to 40 percent of the respondents spent more time on the water this year than in years past. Thirty-one percent spent the same amount of time on the water, followed by 29.6 percent who said they spent less time on the water, primarily because either they or their family were too busy (51 percent of those who spent less time boating cited hectic schedules, while only 37 percent blamed fuel prices for their boating slowdown), according to the company.

Twenty percent said they keep their boat at their home dock, while the remaining 80 percent were split, nearly evenly, between marinas/yacht clubs and on trailers. Trailer boating increased by nearly 10 percent over last year, which, said Medford, is in line with the increase in respondents who cited access to public waterways as the second largest issue affecting boaters (though still far behind fuel costs, which, with 73 percent of the votes, remained boater’s top concern).

Fishing remains, by far, the primary pastime for the survey respondents, the overwhelming majority of whom go out on the water with their spouse or partner, followed by their friends and then children/family, Sea Tow reported.

Finally, as both consumers and industry professionals gear up for yet another major boat show season, 80.9 percent of those surveyed said they will attend one or more boat shows this year, according to Sea Tow.

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