Boating Thrives — Now as Ever

The economy may ebb and flow, but through it all, boating maintains its popularity. That’s what I learned from our recent study of boater attitudes.

The study reports that people appreciate boating now as much as they always have, and for the same age-old reasons. Boating gives us a chance to enjoy the outdoors, relax and spend quality time with friends and family. For boaters who also are anglers, the primary appeal of boating is (not surprisingly) that it gets us where the fish are.

Overall, the study found that even in a weak economy, enthusiasm for boating remains high, with boaters discovering new ways to save money on boat ownership and outings. For instance, boaters are still out on the water for as many hours as they have been, but it seems many owners are doing their own repairs and running their engines for fewer hours of operation.

Another insight I found interesting is that almost half of all people polled said they still expect to go ahead with their current plans to purchase a boat, whether new or used, in the next three years.

Value, though, is increasingly important. So naturally, I got to thinking about how we can help boaters find the greatest value for upcoming purchases.

A free and easy first step is to go to the boating section of to do your own “research study.” How much boat do you need? What kind of boat is best for you? Which features are of greatest value to you?

Then, by bringing these findings to area boat shows you can see firsthand what’s available and which products are best.

I think it’s great that boating’s timeless appeal is so strong. Now excuse me, I hear the water calling …

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Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.