Sea Tow Services International today released the results of its annual online survey of boating habits.
The results are based on the first 1,000 respondents who participated in the survey. The top issues affecting boaters, according to the survey, are fuel costs and lack of public access. Still, half the respondents said they'll remain in boating for the long haul, despite the economy or fuel prices.
"Of particular interest was that nearly 70 percent of our respondents this year were first time Sea Tow survey participants," Ann Medford, Sea Tow's spokeswoman, said in a statement. "However, their replies trended in line with our results from last year."
Nearly 40 percent of the respondents said they spent more time on the water in 2006 than in past years. Thirty-one percent spent the same amount of time on the water, followed by 29.6 percent who said they spent less time on the water. Of those who spent less time on the water, 37 percent blamed fuel prices while 51 percent cited hectic schedules.
Twenty percent said they keep their boat at their home dock, while the remaining 80 percent were split evenly between marina and yacht club slips, or on trailers. Trailer boating increased by nearly 10 percent from last year.
Fishing remains the primary pastime. The overwhelming majority of respondents go out on the water with their spouse or partner, followed by friends and then children/family.
Of those surveyed, 80.9 percent said they will attend one or more boat shows this year.