Help get young people out on the water
Share your knowledge. Experienced boaters make a big difference by offering advice, hands-on help, and encouragement.
Emphasize safety. A frightening experience on the water
can put a newbie off boating. If you see a green boater (or
anyone really) doing something that sets off alarm bells,
be a friend and take the time to help, gently pointing out a
Introduce a young person to boating. Do you have any millennial family, friends, or work colleagues with whom you
enjoy spending time? Offer them an afternoon out on the
water. Help them catch the boating bug.
Focus on financial accessibility. Finding creative ways to
reduce the cost of boating will draw more young people into
the sport. For example, some yacht clubs offer reduced fees
to younger members in exchange for volunteer hours, or
for young members who do not yet own a boat and would
like to use the club’s fleet. For more ideas, visit BoatUS.
com/Magazine to read our article “Building up America’s
Tailor your products to younger markets. Millennials are
less likely to own boats but still need boating products.
Examples of products attractive to this age group include
compact portable items easily transported on and off rental
boats, such as Navionics for iPad; products and services
that help document and/or share life afloat, such as Iridium
Go; and functional and fashionable water wear.
Make it easy to use your products. Offering great how-to
videos online or awesome customer support helps the
learning curve. One company that has done a particularly
good job of this is Sailrite. It offers a vast catalog of do-it-yourself videos on everything from sail repair to sewing
your own cockpit cushions.
WHAT YOUNG POTENTIAL BOATERS CAN DO
Live aboard in a marina. In expensive areas especially,
instead of living in a pricey apartment, buy a boat and live
surrounded by other boaters happy to teach and help you.
Volunteer as crew on a sailboat. Skippers always search
around for crew to join their boats for weekly after-work
races. Check yacht club bulletin boards and websites.
Join a yacht club that has small boats for members to use.
Join a boat-share club, such as Freedom Boat Club or
Carefree Boat Club, and rent a boat whenever you want one.
Join a fishing club or take a one-day fishing workshop to meet
Sign up for a flotilla charter for your next vacation.
Companies such as The Moorings, Le Boat, and Sunsail offer
group power and sailboat charters where you can very reasonably rent one cabin in a captained boat of eight people.
Take a learn-to-sail or learn-to-powerboat course after
work. It’s a blast, and you’ll meet other new boaters.
Join a local community sailing program that rents out their
boats — a terrific way to meet other boaters.
Hitchhike a boat and see the world. Services like Crewbay and
Find a Crew can introduce you to boats looking for crew.
MILLENNIALS FACE OBSTACLES —
COST, PERCEPTION, AND LACK OF
MECHANICAL KNOW-HOW — AND NEED
THE BOATING INDUSTRY TO NURTURE
THIS FLEDGLING FLEET
GUILLAUME BEAUDOIN ( 34, Quebec, C&C
24). Guillaume has a C&C 24 that he shares with
a few friends in Montreal. He is also a filmmaker and
is currently boat-hiking his way from Panama through-
out the South Pacific, documenting community-driven
ocean-conservation projects. “Sailing to me is not about
the number of miles I’ve covered. It’s about meeting new
people, discovering new places, and sharing their stories.”
Guillaume is currently in French Polynesia. Visit facebook.com/
acrossthesaltyroads to watch episodes from his trip.