Baby Boomer Boaters

swim platform
Swim platforms and swim ladders are valuable boating accessories especially for Baby Boomers looking to take it easy.

No one likes the idea of growing old. And the physical reality for the seventy-six million Americans that the U.S. Census Bureau estimates were born during the so-called Baby Boom from 1945 to 1964 is that many of these folks are quickly nearing retirement age. Maybe that is why my last blog on right–sizing your boat got some interesting comments, particularly about older boaters’ needs. I thought I’d give some specifics on how we can further outfit the “right boat” and adapt our boats as we age.

Wikipedia states that as a group, Baby Boomers are the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation to date in our country’s history, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. So it is no wonder that we’d expect better boating products to be marketed to us (yes, I’m a Boomer), especially considering our financial status.

Also according to Wikipedia, Baby Boomers control over 80% of personal financial assets in the U.S. and more than 50% of discretionary spending power. They are responsible for more than half of all consumer spending, purchase 77% of all prescription drugs, 61% of over-the-counter medication, and 80% of all leisure travel.

So, in addition to taking a few more Ibuprofen after a strenuous day on the water than younger boaters might, baby boomer boaters should explore what onboard equipment, added to the right boat, will make it easier to keep on boating well into retirement age.

step box
Customized box steps make great gifts for the boomer in your life.

Here’s my list of items that are great for any boater but may become more necessary for older boaters.

  • Better lighting – see my blog on LED lighting
  • Reading and magnifying glasses  – and better binoculars
  • More handrails strategically placed
  • Walk-thru transoms, boarding steps, and boarding gates
  • Power winches
  • Anchor windlasses
  • Furling sails, stack packs
  • Bowthrusters
  • Dinghy davits
  • Gauges with BIG displays
  • Swim platforms

Please send along your suggestions for additions to this list.  We can’t change the reality of aging, so we might as well adapt—and keep active as long as we can by whatever means possible.

According to the 2011 Associated Press and surveys, 42% of Baby Boomers are delaying retirement because of the economic crisis and 25% claim they’ll never retire (currently still working). Maybe the old adage about Captains applies to Baby Boomer boaters too: “They don’t stop boating, they just get a little dinghy.” The good news is, buying some equipment can make it easier and all the more enjoyable.

Written by: Peter d'Anjou

A USCG licensed captain and former merchant mariner, Peter d'Anjou is now a freelance writer and editor. A one-time executive editor at Sailing World magazine, he writes about his passion for racing and boating. Having managed a large yacht repair facility in the NE U.S. his background in boat construction and repair translate to the practical side of boat ownership.


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