North Carolina needs more public boat ramps, according to a survey conducted by the state's Wildlife Resources Commission.
The Boating Access Survey, conducted from October through December 2006, received input from 3,783 North Carolina residents, with particular attention paid to 20 coastal counties.
The report showed that roughly seven out of 10 respondents use commission boat ramps. Ease of use, convenient location and fishing opportunities near access points were cited as primary determining factors.
However, a significant portion of those respondents cited crowding, limited parking and lack of public restrooms as major factors that should be addressed in an effort to improve commission-run boat ramps.
"If I don't get to the ramp before on a weekend, boating becomes too hard to bother," said one survey participant. "I probably skipped 10-plus trips this year because it is just too crowded."
On average survey participants said they used their boats 58 days a year. The most common reasons for going out on the water were:
? recreation (73 percent),
? saltwater fishing (53 percent),
? inland fishing (51 percent) and
? hunting (15 percent).
Respondents were encouraged to name all boating activities in which they participate, leading to an aggregate total that exceeded 100 percent.
The respondents used a variety of watercraft.
Among motorboat owners, 78 percent had a vessel that measured between 14 and 23 feet. Roughly 22 percent of those surveyed used canoes or kayaks, while 8 percent owned personal watercraft and 6 percent had sailboats.
For more information on the study, or to see the survey results, visit the commission's Web site at www.ncwildlife.org.