Why Is Boating Becoming More Popular?

Increasingly, people all over the world are discovering the joys of boating. The summer of 2020 led to an enormous surge in boat sales and even people who don’t own boats are spending more time on the water. 

What has led to this increase in popularity, and will it continue into the future? 

The COVID-19 Pandemic

One of the most impactful events pushing the surge in boat sales has been the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many individual reasons for this: 

  • The need for a socially distant hobby. People all over the world have been cautioned to socially distance themselves, remaining isolated whenever possible and remaining at least six feet from other people when out in public. Many traditional pastimes, like watching sports or hanging out in bars, suddenly became non-options. People needed a new way to spend time while remaining socially distant—and boating fits the mold perfectly. On the water, you’re often hundreds of yards, or even miles away from the nearest person, and you can enjoy the company of close friends and family members in privacy. 
  • Extra time. Many people have enjoyed additional free time since the onset of the pandemic, even if it’s for an unpleasant reason. Many people are working from home, saving them time on commuting, and they don’t have traditional hobbies to occupy themselves. With the extra time, they can invest more energy into researching the hobby (including potential boats to buy). They can also spend more time maintaining a boat and getting it ready for the water. On top of that, many people are spending more time with their families—and boating is the perfect hobby to bring the whole family together. 
  • The push to spend time outside. The COVID-19 pandemic has also pushed more people to spend time outside. If you’re going to be around other people, being outside is safer; airborne particles are dispersed more easily, and you can more easily separate yourself from others. Additionally, feeling stuck in the house can make anyone feel stir-crazy; if you can’t go to someone else’s house, head to a public place, or go on vacation, going outside is the next best thing. And of course, boating gives you a great excuse to spend time outside. 
  • Stimulus money. We also need to acknowledge that many people in the United States, the UK, and other areas have received stimulus money from the government. Designed as a way to compensate people for lost income or other hardships during the pandemic, this represents extra spending money to people who are already doing fine. An extra few hundred dollars is sometimes all it takes to push people to make a big financial decision like buying a boat. 

Increasing Options 

There are also more ways to get involved with boating than ever before: 

  • Online listings. These days, it’s possible to buy a boat anywhere using online channels. On online marketplaces, you can conveniently see thousands of boats for sale all over the world; no matter what your budget is or what type of boat you’re looking for, you’ll almost certainly find an option that works for you. 
  • Available loans. It’s also worth noting that loans for boats are increasingly available—and they’re being offered at lower interest rates as well. The Federal Reserve interest rate is still near zero, incentivizing banks and financial institutions to extend low-interest loans to willing consumers. Even if you have a sketchy credit history, as long as you have a decent down payment, you should be able to get the financing you need. 
  • Rentals. There’s also an increase in boats available for rent. Not everyone is interested in boat ownership, even if they’re interested in boating overall. Rentals bridge that gap, allowing more people to spend time on the water. 

Popularity and Social Aspects

We also need to think about the rising popularity and social aspects of boating. As more people buy boats and spend time on the water, they tend to invite their friends and family, and they tend to talk about their hobby more frequently. This, in turn, sparks even more people to get involved in the hobby. The popularity of boating then tends to snowball. 

Will This Trend Continue? 

While some of the push factors for the rise in boating are temporary in nature (i.e., those related to the COVID-19 pandemic), it’s uncertain whether the boating trend will continue to grow, stagnate, or decline in the future. Many people who pick up boating end up passionate about their hobby for a lifetime. On the other hand, as people get back to the hobbies they had before the pandemic, they may try to sell their boats. For now, take advantage of sales and rising public interest if you can—and be ready to get back in the water come spring.


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