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Pandemic has quickly shifted average age of boat buyers

Up until this year, the average age for boaters had been getting older and older. However, as COVID-19 hit American soil and recreational activities grew affected, the industry saw a surge in younger boaters.

So far in 2020, the average age of powerboat buyers has decreased by almost two years compared to this point in 2019. Info-Link Technologies, a Florida firm that tracks boat registrations shared their recent findings with TradeOnlyToday.

The findings pointed to a particularly notable trend that for the first time in a decade, the number of new boat buyers aged 40 and under exceeded that of boat buyers over 60.

The research broke down boats sold by age group. Personal watercraft saw the average buyer age drop to 46, with towboats dipping to 47 and runabout and jet boats decreasing to 49.

Info-Link managing director Jack Ellis explained what the potential reason for this shift could be. “Our speculation is that this is being driven in large part by buyers who still have children in the home and are seeking a means of escape to spend time with their families in a more controlled and enjoyable environment,” said Ellis.

Opportunity to build long-time customers

Obviously, trends like these aren’t exactly commonplace in the boating industry. This has been a unique year which has actually given the industry a boost. The challenge going forward will be turning these customers in their 40s into returning customers and keeping them passionate about boating into their 60s.

In appealing to a younger demographic of potential customers, boating businesses have to be equipped to meet evolving customer expectations. Younger boaters are more in tune with emerging technology and are more likely to make purchases and find businesses online. 

DockMaster’s back office management tool integrates with third party Consumer Facing applications, unlike most marine software programs. This is a key factor in businesses reaching younger boaters, who expect to be able to book slips, schedule launches, and communicate via text. This can prove to be invaluable in keeping these new customers for the long haul.

Wrapping Up

Whatever way you spin it, the emergence of younger boaters is a positive development for the industry. With this information in mind, it will be crucial for boating businesses to keep looking for ways to better connect with this emerging demographic.

DockMaster Software is an industry leading management system for marinas, boatyards, and boat dealerships. DockMaster includes Unit Sales, Prospecting and F&I with fully integrated financial management and numerous integrations with CRM applications, dealer websites and text/messaging services. The Service module includes estimating, labor tracking, and complete parts management with ordering/receiving, subcontractor fulfillment and invoicing. DockMaster Mobile allows technicians to clock on/off jobs from any mobile device. Visual Marina™ management includes storage & billing, occupancy tracking, reservations and dry stack management, including integrations to leading consumer applications for boat rentals, online reservations, concierge/launch scheduling and our new Fuel Integration with FuelCloud. DockMaster also includes Point of Sale, Order Entry with eCommerce and a complete accounting system. Learn more at and follow DockMaster on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Or email

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