Women boat shoppers are up 75% in 2020. Photo: Ryan McVinney/Boat Trader.
Over the last decade, boat builders and dealers have increasingly rallied around the needs and wants of women buyers. As a result women are better represented in the marine industry than in the past, with female participation up across nearly all areas of boating. In fact, spurred by the pandemic, 75% more women are actively shopping for boats on Boat Trader than last season – which provides marine retailers a better opportunity to connect with women shoppers than ever before.
A frenzy of boat searches on Boat Trader have led to an unprecedented number of sales by many new and aspiring boating families and couples who have gone all-hands-on-deck to quickly eye and buy the perfect type of boat that checks all of their boxes.
Historically, women have made up the largest niche market of boaters and besides women well-acquainted with boating not wanting to “miss the boat” on an upgraded model, or the chance to break free from the house with the kids, more women new to boating are also seeking boats as a new, active adventure for themselves with their significant other or their family. One indication that female interest won’t quickly fade is this year’s consistent increase in outreach made by women to sellers for more information about boats for sale – and the rise in communication has continued long after the peak of the boating season.
With more women browsing online inventory and upping their role in the early boat selection stage, which is generally an earlier phase than when women have previously entered the boat buying journey, it is no surprise that there’s also been a shift in demand. Thanks to all the fluctuating restrictions on gatherings and travel, and more women leading household social calendars than men, family-friendly, activity-based boats with ample seating, versatility for entertaining and watersports, and overall ease of use, have lately been researched the most.
Naturally with the increase in women boat shoppers across the industry, there is also a growing number of female captains and boat handling courses led by women, which is a tremendous boost for many women now taking the helm. Outside of training and teaching, women boaters are also encouraging other women to embrace the lifestyle. We recently caught up with author and long-distance cruiser Lisa Targal Favors who wrote a book about this topic. To sway ladies unsure about cruising and illustrate the many joys of a life onboard, her book Women Onboard Cruising reveals the stories of 25 women and their love of life afloat.
Lisa and her husband Jim (who run the website TrailerTrawlerLife) travel around the country on their Ranger Tugs R-29 trailerable “pocket yacht” which was a purchase decision they made together through many hours of discussion. In her book, Lisa stresses how both husband and wife should be comfortable with any boat purchase decision, with each of them involved from the very beginning of the sale process all the way to the end.
Considering all the new boaters of all ages and backgrounds who purchased a “COVID boat”, boaters can expect more diverse and inclusive marketing and communication to come, not to mention, new training programs and service offerings. As the gap between male and female participation in the boat-buying journey continues to narrow with more women leading the charge, boating will only continue to grow as an even greater, more beloved tradition and pastime.
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