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Boating Industry Challenges and Marketing Opportunities in 2023

Like many other industries, the boating industry has seen immense but gradual growth. However, even with the high momentum, there are still issues that remain unaddressed. Environmental changes, people, aging boat population; are but the tip of the iceberg. Even though much is being done to tackle this problem, the main barriers remain unchanged. Here are some of the challenges.

1. Ethanol

There has been growing concern in the recreational boating industry, most commonly relating to Renewable Fuel standards. Most people in the boating industry have complained about engines and other parts, all caused by ethanol. When gasoline is to be blended with ethanol, low-octane petrol is used. If high-octane gasoline is used, it produces 87-91 octanes of combined fuel. However, during phase separation, the lower octane gasoline will separate from the ethanol resulting in engine malfunctions and components problems. Energy is used up quickly during phase separation, making the phase separation less of a concern. However, gradual separation still poses a risk to marine engines.

Ever since its introduction to the market, the E-15 has continued to threaten more than one hundred million boaters and their businesses. Detrimental effects on humans, animals, and the environment are imminent. To be on the safe side, we should encourage the use of boats that are ethanol-free.

2. Recreational Fishing

Recently, several efforts have been implemented to ensure everyone’s best interests are incorporated into local and national policies. As a result, angling and fishing have become somehow related to the boating industry. Ensuring that these policies positively impact the industry is a massive share of responsibility. While we try to balance marine recreational access, it is essential to try still protecting resources.
With over ten million anglers spread all over the country, 70% of all boat outings have fishing as their primary aim.

3. Affordability

The cost of boats continues to skyrocket at a pace that can effortlessly outpace inflation. Compared to 2000, the price of stern dive, for example, is about 75% higher today. This can be primarily due to factors such as increased oil prices. With these factors expected to keep growing, boat prices are also likely to be held on the upswing.

These affordability issues continue to affect all market levels. Boat-making companies have been significantly affected by this. They depend on people who can afford their products to increase their sales and revenue. Their consumers still demand quality; they want more technology and better touch panel electronics. On the other hand, the government is still increasing fuel tanks, engines, and other components. What will prevent the prices from being driven up in such a market?

4. Access Challenges

Many water bodies in our country and worldwide face the problem of dropping water levels. The water supply is slowly but continuously reducing due to global warming. Moreover, most of the land near these bodies is privately owned. Therefore, access to water has also been regulated.

Everyone should be able to access the country’s waters freely. Government policies, however, have been put in place to balance visitors’ access with conservation. With over one hundred and forty million boaters, marine sanctuaries and parks have remained limited but crucial access points. It would be better if federally managed waters got more maintenance for boaters around the country to enjoy.

5. Boat Coordination During the Pandemic

The Covid19 pandemic has disrupted many industries, the boating industry being no exception. This has made it infeasible for companies and businesses to run their activities as usual. Dealers, buyers, and sellers had to look for ways to adjust to the new normal, especially regarding social distancing. People now prefer contactless and digital transactions over the old tradition. As a result, dealers and sellers must venture into better communication and transaction methods, from virtual communication to automated payments. First-time buyers make the process even more challenging for them.

The pandemic has brought with it other new challenges. For example, forecasting sales is challenging, making it hard to determine inventory levels. Can they also be able to get enough staff to accommodate the rising demand while at the same time abiding by the regulations?