Where Are All the Young Boaters?

Where Are All the Young Boaters?

Where are all the young boaters/campers/hunters/skiers/and more? That’s a question many people in the outdoor recreation industry have been asking for years. A new article in the October/November issue of BoatU.S. Magazine by freelance writer Fiona McGlynn has the surprising answer about young boaters: they’re on the water, just like their parents.

The article reports that, while the number of young people participating in boating hasn’t been studied consistently, a U.S. Coast Guard study has found that 27% of Americans ages 25-34 participated in boating in 2012, compared to 23% of Americans ages 55-64. At the same time, boat ownership among 20- to 39-year-olds has plummeted, with approximately 41% fewer people in that age bracket owning boats in 2015 than in 2005.

So how are all the young people getting out on the water? The answer lies in the sharing economy. Millennials are increasingly choosing to borrow or rent big-ticket items like boats, rather than own them. A 2015 study done by Market Research Associates showed bareboat charters – where renters are responsible for crewing and provisioning the boat – are up 51% from 2012 to 2015. “In the 1970s and ‘80s, if you wanted to go boating, you had to buy a boat,” says Jack Ellis, Managing Director at Info-Link, a market-research firm that tracks boat ownership in the U.S. “Generally, the mindset of people in that generation was to own things. This seems almost silly to a millennial. Why would you buy a ski house, when all you have to do is Airbnb it! Same with boats.”

Read the full article here. For information on young campers, click here.