As summer kicks into high-gear, the burning question across the boating industry has been – “what should we expect this season?”
In early June, Sea Tow Services International, Inc. – the leading provider of on-water assistance for boaters nationwide – surveyed 5,000 of its members in an effort to better understand the forthcoming actions of boaters and how habits may or may not change as a result of the worldwide pandemic.
“In a time when it’s important for our industry to band together, these statistics shed a little light on what we can expect and help us adapt to continue to support boaters,” said Kristen Frohnhoefer, president of Sea Tow. “Our survey shows that many boaters will modify their boating behavior in light of COVID-19 and a large percentage plan to boat more frequently. Knowing this, Sea Tow and other marine businesses can adjust their strategy and services to ensure that families continue to safely enjoy their boating plans for the summer.”
The survey found that almost all boaters who participated (93%) consider boating a good social distancing activity. Additionally, 37% replied that they are going to greatly increase or somewhat increase boating frequency this summer with another 47% not changing their boating frequency at all.
The results also confirm that a significant portion of boaters plan on continuing to implement socially responsible actions and habits while boating this summer:
- 54% plan to maintain distance at boat ramps, marinas and fuel docks.
- 35% will boat only with those in their household or those they have been quarantining with.
- 32% will “expand [their] quarantine circle” to include more family and close friends boating with them.
- 31% will stay in local waters with no travel to other marinas, cities, etc.
- 30% will not raft up with other boats.
Moreover, 59% of boaters who had non-boating related vacation plans said they have canceled those plans, but only 24% of those with boating-based vacation plans will cancel them. Additionally, 28% responded that they plan to, or are thinking about, adding vacations on/by boat this summer. Transient overnight boat stays at marinas, for those where applicable, will largely remain the same:
- 60% said their quantity of transient overnight stays will “not” change at all.
- 27% said they are decreasing transient overnight stays.
- 13% said they will increase transient overnight stays.
“The survey results indicate that individuals and families are looking to social distance naturally, and what’s better for that than boating!” Frohnhoefer said. “It’s exciting to see that people still want to get out on the water and even plan to boat more often; all while taking action to stay safe. The boating community as a whole has an exciting summer of boating to look forward to.”