Summer 2021: Recreational Boating Trends

As we head into summer and COVID restrictions lift; harbors and waterways are expected to be significantly busier than in years past.

Our friends at SeaTow just released some interesting new findings from their Summer 2021 Boating Trends Survey.

Pandemic-influenced boating behavior:

  • 52% of boaters surveyed anticipate their boating activity to increase this summer compared to last.
  • 20% cite the pandemic as the reason for extending their boating season again in 2021.
  • 24% plan to vacation on/by boat (versus other forms of travel) because of the pandemic.
  • 35% plan to use their boat primarily for cruising near their home.
  • 16% upgraded to a larger boat in 2020 or plan to do so in 2021.
  • 52% plan to use their boat primarily for fishing (65% in-shore / 30% off-shore / 5% freshwater).
  • 30% have found it more difficult to find dockage and/or marina space.

“Our member survey has typically been a very strong indicator for seasonal recreational boating trends,” said Kristen Frohnhoefer, President of Sea Tow. “Last year, Sea Tow saw a 34% 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.”

With the number of new boaters recreating on the water, the need for boating education has never been more important. 69% of boaters surveyed are looking for more advice on local navigational assistance, mishap prevention and general boating basics.

“2021 is sure to be another banner year for boating,” says Frohnhoefer, “with the unofficial start of summer only a few weeks away, we’ll find out real soon if these trends for recreational boating activity are in fact here to stay.”