Getting greasy and sailing anxiety
Most 20- to 40-somethings didn’t grow
up with a torque wrench in one hand
and a soldering gun in the other. While
our parents’ generation spent their teens
rebuilding old cars, we spent our time
building websites. The initial learning
curve when getting into boat ownership
can be overwhelming for anyone, but
more so for a generation without foundational skills in mechanics and building.
“I think the biggest obstacle for me
and others my age is the lack of knowl-
edge and experience when first getting
started,” says Nick Mayden, a 30-year-
old Lake of the Ozarks powerboater.
“I feel like there was a lot to be learned
for someone who hadn’t spent his life
Having something break on the
water can be an intimidating prospect.
Davey Williams, 29, of Ohio’s Lake
Erie Islands, also thinks the fright factor
might be a bigger issue than cost: “Young
people can be intimidated by boating.
They think it’s dangerous. Most of my
friends who can afford a boat are too
nervous to own one!”
These comments resonated for
Robin and me. We found our first for-
ays into boat ownership intimidating to
say the least. Fortunately, we had two
great resources working in our favor.
The first was our dock neighbors, who
spent countless hours advising us and
taking time to answer our newbie ques-
tions. The second was YouTube and the
internet. As millennials who see instant-
for retirees and trust-fund babies. Over
the last few years since we got into
boating, Robin and I haven’t seen that.
I’ve met a number of young boaters
finding creative ways to get out on the
water without breaking the bank, such
as millennials who are participating in
cooperatives or who share a boat among
friends. Several boaters interviewed
mentioned the increasing popularity of
wake boats, in part because they carry
more people and they’re fun.
There are an increasing number of
options for frugal millennial boaters.
Many young boaters are opting for small
trailerable boats to avoid moorage costs.
In sailing, older fiberglass boats, affectionately known as “classic plastics,” are
popular with the younger generation.
USCG NATIONAL RECREATIONAL BOATING SURVEY
participants by age as a %
of U.S. population (2012)
Millennial vs. Boomer
assets + income in early
adulthood in thousands of
n Millennials in 2013 n Boomers in 1989
0 Assets Median Income
FINANCIAL HEALTH OF YOUNG AMERICA 2017
2013 U.S. Millennial
+ Boomer population millions
n affluent n nonaffluent
n affluent n nonaffluent
THE IPSOS MENDELSOHN AFFLUENT SURVEY 2013
“I THINK THE BIGGEST
OBSTACLE FOR ME AND
OTHERS MY AGE IS THE
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
AND EXPERIENCE WHEN
FIRST GETTING STARTED”
KEITH RAYCRAFT ( 36, Alberta, 16’ Thunder Bolt bass boat) has lived on the water
his whole life and pursued a career as a marine-engine technician. For Keith, family
comes first. “To me it’s all about making memories with my daughter. When I was
a kid, I couldn’t wait for the weekend so my dad could take me to the island. I
want that to be the same for her!”
A BoatU.S. Special Report