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Enhancing the Boat Ownership Experience: A Comprehensive Guide

Boat ownership is a dream for many, offering the freedom to explore open waters, enjoy water sports, or simply relax with loved ones. However, the boat ownership experience can be enhanced or diminished based on various factors. Drawing insights from a detailed analysis of a YouTube video on the subject, this article delves deep into the intricacies of boat ownership, aiming to provide potential and current boat owners with valuable insights.

Note: The video was produced by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation in collaboration with Jerry Mona

Understanding the Boat Ownership Experience

The boat ownership experience is multifaceted. A study revealed that while two dozen variables were considered, only five consistently predicted overall satisfaction:

  • Love for the Boat: The emotional connection one feels with their boat plays a significant role. As one respondent mentioned, “satisfaction with the boat varies from a one to five, the percent completely satisfied with their overall ownership experience increases by 57 points.”
  • Reasonable Cost of Ownership: The perceived value for money is crucial. A shift in the reasonableness rating can result in a 41-point swing in satisfaction.
  • Routine Maintenance: Satisfaction with the level of routine maintenance requirements is pivotal.
  • Confidence in Operation: Confidence in operating the boat’s standard equipment is directly linked to satisfaction.
  • Frequency of Use: How often the boat is used also impacts the ownership experience.

Interestingly, factors like being a first-time boater, buying new vs. used, or purchasing from a dealer vs. a private party didn’t consistently predict the overall ownership experience.

The Importance of Retention

Boater retention is influenced by the overall ownership experience, frequency of usage, and the boat’s primary use. For instance, anglers view their boat as a means to an end (catching fish) rather than an end in itself. This means if they don’t like their boat, they’re more likely to switch boats rather than quit fishing.

Enhancing the Shopping Experience

One major frustration during the pandemic was the unavailability of boats and outdated online dealer inventories. To enhance the shopping experience:

  • Update Listings Regularly: Ensure online inventories are current to prevent potential customers from getting frustrated.
  • Engage Prospective Customers: Use CRM systems or newsletters to keep potential buyers informed about product availability, new arrivals, and specials.

Improving the Purchase Process

Boaters expressed dissatisfaction with the product overview received at delivery. Dealers should:

  • Provide Thorough Overviews: Dedicate time to give a comprehensive overview at delivery.
  • Offer Supplementary Information: Provide handouts or videos with concise instructions on boat operation and maintenance.

Enhancing the Ownership Experience

To improve the ownership experience:

  • Minimize Downtime: Aim to have boats in the dealership close to when work is to be performed.
  • Reduce Cost of Ownership: Focus on ways to lower the cost of ownership for the end consumer.
  • Promote Usage: Encourage events and activities that promote boat usage.

The Role of Frequency in Retention

The frequency of boat usage plays a pivotal role in the overall ownership experience. The study suggests that frequency of usage is particularly important as it consistently appears as a significant factor in both the overall ownership experience and the retention model. For instance, as boat usage increases from low to high frequency, there’s a notable increase in the percentage of individuals who say they will remain boaters.

The Impact of Boat Usage Purpose

The purpose for which the boat is used, such as fishing, also influences the ownership experience. Those who use their boat exclusively for fishing are more likely to remain boat owners compared to those who use their boat for other activities.

The boat ownership experience is not just about owning a great product; it’s about the entire journey from shopping to regular usage. By understanding the factors that influence satisfaction and retention, dealers and manufacturers can enhance the boat ownership experience, ensuring that boat owners get the most out of their investment.

Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation

Jerry Mona

Merrill Charette

Brought to you by 

SHIPSHAPE.PRO – Innovative platform that bridges the gap in marine repair

MIDA.PRO – Marine Industry Digital Agency – Web dev / Marketing


Merrill Charette Jerry Mona