ALEXANDRIA, VA – August 10, 2017 – 142 million Americans went boating in 2016 – 36 percent of U.S. households – according to the 2016 Recreational Boating Participation Study, released today by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and Discover Boating. Of the 142 million individuals, 17 million were first-time participants, and half these first-time participants were children under the age of 18. Of those Americans who went boating in 2016, those who spent the most hours on the water or engaged in fishing and water sports were more likely to consider purchasing a boat.
“The results of the new Recreational Boating Participation Study illustrate the breadth of recreational boating in the United States and the opportunity for our industry to get more Americans on the water and ultimately buying boats – exploring emerging markets such as Hispanics, reaching younger boaters, and encouraging those already active in boating to pursue boat ownership,” said Thom Dammrich, NMMA President. “The study makes clear what we all know as boaters—the more time spent on the water, the more likely someone is to become a boat owner. As an industry, it is our job to help people spend more time on the water and facilitate the boating and boat-buying process—whether that’s through lobbying for improved access and infrastructure, nurturing active boaters through marketing, or providing more accessible ways to try boating through such things as classes or rental opportunities.”
“The insights from this report support a healthy, and thriving participation level for boating, which helps fund local conservation programs across the U.S.,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “As we strive to increase participation in both recreational boating and fishing, the report also gives us a deeper look at the connection between the two activities, reinforcing a need for early introduction. This information will help us grow the sport, creating more customers for the industry, more fishing license and boat registration purchases and increased tackle and equipment sales.”
Prepared by QSA Research & Analytics, the study assessed the total number of boaters in the U.S., including those active during 2016 and those who went boating for the first time during 2016, as well as those who have never gone boating. The study also profiled both active boaters and first-time boaters according to their demographic characteristics, and measured the number of household participants who were active boaters and first-time boaters during 2016, their ages, and genders. Other topics featured in the study include boat ownership participation, the amount of time that active boaters spent boating during 2016, and the activities they engaged in while boating, including fishing and watersports.
Other key findings of the 2016 Recreational Boating Participation Study
NMMA members receive access to the study as part of their membership. RBFF stakeholders should contact Stephanie Vatalaro at [email protected] to download the report.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading trade organization for the North American recreational boating industry. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, marine accessories and gear used by millions of boaters in North America. The association serves its members and their sales and service networks by improving the business environment for recreational boating including providing domestic and international sales and marketing opportunities, reducing unnecessary government regulation, decreasing the cost of doing business, and helping grow boating participation. As the largest producer of boat and sport shows in the U.S., NMMA connects the recreational boating industry with the boating consumer year-round. Learn more at www.nmma.org and get engaged with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)
RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation's aquatic natural resources. RBFF's recently announced 60-in-60 effort strives to attract 60 million anglers to the sport by the end of 2021. To help recruit, retain and reactivate participants, RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns creating awareness about boating, fishing and conservation, and educating people about the benefits of participation. These campaigns help boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign websites, TakeMeFishing.org and VamosAPescar.org, feature how-to videos, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.