BoatU.S. says boat traffic flat, on-the-water tows up

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Recreational boating traffic has been flat this summer, despite good weather and lower gas prices, which have been offset by the recession, reported The Boat Owners Association of The United States in a statement today.

“Except for the Northeast, weather has generally been good, and fuel prices remain around $3.50 per gallon at the fuel dock, down about a dollar or so from last summer’s highs. But the economy has been a bigger factor,” said Jerry Cardarelli, vice president of BoatU.S. Towing Service.

The group said on-the-water boat towing and ungrounding services provided to its members were up 8 percent at the midsummer mark compared to 2008.

“Boaters have less money in their wallets this year, which translates to fewer outings, less maintenance, and an increase in calls for on-the-water assistance,” Cardarelli said.

In May, BoatU.S. surveyed its members and about half of the respondents said they would reduce cruising distances, stay closer to home and reduce boating trips/days this summer, among other cost-cutting measures.

“The middle class is boating’s bread and butter,” Cardarelli said, “and like everyone else, these families are feeling the strain on their budget for discretionary activities.”

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