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A study by Grow Boating showed that first-time boat buyers are declining, as the segment represents 33% of all boats sold in the United States, which is nearly a 20% drop since 2005.

Soundings Trade Only reported that the decline is largely the reason that the age of the average boat owner continues to increase — the number of owners under the age of 50 has gone from 55% of all owners to fewer than 35%.

That’s according to a Grow Boating study released today and titled “First-Time Boat Buyer.”

“We’ve worked very closely with Info-Link to understand the latest boat owner trends,” Grow Boating president Carl Blackwell told Trade Only Today. “In particular, two things stood out: The total number of boat owners has decreased by more than 1 million since 2000 and the percentage of first-time boat owners dropped from 42% to 33% in 2015. This confirms previous findings that showed a decline in the number of boaters under the age of 50 — from 55% of all owners to now under 35%.”

“We are losing boat owners faster than we can replace them,” Blackwell added. “Some of this is age-related, and some of it involves a lower percentage of first-time buyers becoming repeat buyers.”

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