The Boating Ontario Association, or Boating Ontario, published the results of a comprehensive boater survey to develop a better understanding of the state of recreational boating in the Canadian province.
The survey provides new information about boating characteristics, trip frequency, favorite boating destinations, experiences with Ontario’s canals and waterways and future boat-buying intentions on the part of more than 2,500 respondents to the online survey.
“This first-of-its-kind survey conducted by Boating Ontario has provided us with some very valuable information,” Boating Ontario CEO Janet Bauer said in a statement. “Understanding the trends of recreational boaters is key to providing them with quality product and services. Over the next couple of years, we will be working with industry and community partners to implement new and exciting promotional programs.”
Survey participants offered feedback that suggests recreational boating is associated with short trips, usually on weekends and occurring close to home.
Enjoying the beauty of Ontario’s landscape is an important part of the overall boating experience, boaters reported. Water and navigational conditions, and distance to the next port of call often influence venturing farther along Ontario’s waterways, and weather conditions (especially storm warnings) influence the frequency of boating.
Of perhaps greatest interest to Ontario’s marine industry, the results also suggest that the recreational boating sector in the province is healthy.
“The good news is that 14 percent of respondents plan to buy a new or used boat in the next year, while 46 percent of boat owners plan to increase the number of boat trips they take in the next two years,” Bauer said. “The data also indicates that boaters appear to be skewing younger, with respondents most likely to increase their boating activities aged 18 to 44.”
The trade group said recreational boating in Canada has a $9 billion economic impact. The industry has more than 67,000 employees, represents wages and salaries of $2.6 billion and pays taxes of $775 million a year. Ontario represents more than 40 percent of the total. Many small communities in Ontario depend on recreational boating for a large percentage of their livelihood.