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The Discover Boating campaign is spending a lot of money to recruit first-time boat buyers.

However, Soundings Trade Only reported that data from boat registrations, provided by Infolink, show that during a 12-year period starting in 2005, a full 54% of the 564,000 first-time buyers had sold their boats and not bought another one. And during the six-year period ending in 2018, some 39% of the 380,000 first-time buyers had done the same thing.

Not only has the industry seen a marked decline in first-time buyers, but the industry is failing to retain them and sell them a second, third or fourth boat during their lifetimes. Research has identified the hassle, effort and cost surrounding boat ownership as the reasons for this trend.

Doctoral candidates at DePaul University took on the challenge to define, more specifically, factors leading to first-time-buyer attrition and what might be done about it. Research has shown that leisure constraints can be intrapersonal (shyness, poor health or lack of skill), interpersonal (conflicting schedules, family obligations, lack of activity partners) and structural (lack of convenient facilities, time limitations, lack of affordable options). These constraints affect the extent to which an individual specializes in an activity.

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