A Sea Tow Services International survey of 3,500 boaters found that last-year’s pandemic-related increase in boating activity will continue this summer.
“Our member survey has typically been a very strong indicator for seasonal recreational boating trends,” Sea Tow president Kristen Frohnhoefer said in a statement. “Last year, Sea Tow saw a 34 percent increase in requests for on-water assistance in the summer of 2020, and our nationwide network of captains are anticipating another busy season for 2021.”
Sea Tow noted that in 2020, new-boat owners were 142 percent more likely to need ungrounding services, 108 percent were more likely to need fuel, and 11.2 percent were more likely to need a jumpstart.
Sea Tow added that new-boat owners are 22 percent less likely to need a tow.
The numbers “reflect the fact that new boaters are not yet familiar with things like shifting sandbars and hard-to-navigate channels, or how to manage their fuel … which is getting them into trouble and causing them to call us for assistance,” Frohnhoefer said.
The survey findings included:
• 52 percent of boaters anticipate their boating activity to increase this summer compared with last.
• 20 percent cite the pandemic as the reason for extending their boating season again.
• 24 percent plan to vacation on/by boat because of the pandemic.
• 35 percent plan to use their boat primarily for cruising near their home.
• 16 percent upgraded to a larger boat in 2020 or plan to do so in 2021.
• 52 percent use their boat primarily for fishing.
• 30 percent have found it more difficult to find dockage and/or marina space.
Further, 69 percent of boaters surveyed want advice on navigation, mishap prevention and general boating basics.