LOS ANGELES – The American Sailing Association (ASA), the provider of U.S. sailing instruction, has released key findings from its first member survey. Nearly 14,000 ASA members received the five-minute survey in November 2009, which was completed by almost 1,200 members, a 17-percent response rate, according to ASA.
“Our goal with this survey was to improve member offerings by tailoring ASA event and program offerings according to interests and needs,” said Charlie Nobles, executive director. “We also found several unexpected new insights, which will impact future ASA course offerings and, we anticipate, help us grow our membership.”
Here are the key survey findings, the ASA stated:
Average Member Profile: The survey confirmed that the average ASA member is a Caucasian male with an advanced degree, aged 45-64, moderate to high-income, and is the typical “empty nester,” i.e., married with no children in the home.
Many are Bareboat Qualified: More than half of members are, or will be, Bareboat Qualified; 42 percent have completed, or plan to soon complete, the course or one above.
Significant Sailboat Ownership: Contrary to popular view, more than one-third (37 percent) own at least one sailboat; and one-quarter (27 percent) own at least one keelboat.
Charter Interest: Nearly two-thirds of members (63 percent) report intent to charter a multi-day vacation cruise within the coming year. The U.S. Virgin Islands was named most popular U.S. destination (32 percent); the British Virgin Islands was named the most popular international destination (38 percent); and the second most popular, the Mediterranean (19 percent).
Underserved Audiences: Women, and those under the age of 45, emerged as an underserved audience (about 53 percent combined), demonstrating a need to continue instruction/social destination events as a means of appealing to new younger audiences and growing membership.
Sailing is Economically Viable: Almost one-third of members earn less than $100,000 a year, indicating that learning to sail is an economically accessible sport.
“Based on our findings, ASA will continue to host our popular ‘American Sailing Week’ destination event to members, and will offer a variety of compelling, exotic locations including Croatia, the location for our 2010 flotilla,” said Nobles. “This will help us to continue to satisfy the needs of members who have confirmed interest in charter vacations around the world.”