The winds of change are blowing, and each passing day sees women increasingly making their mark in the world of boating. From fearless sailors embarking on daring solo voyages to passionate marine enthusiasts navigating the waters with confidence, women are reshaping the maritime landscape with their resilience, determination, and unwavering love for the sea.
Clearly, women are much better represented in the world of boats and boating than they were in the past. But how much positive growth have women made in what historically has been a man’s world? To find out, Rightboat has analyzed its internal data to uncover the increasing interest from women in boating.
Women shopping for boats grows by 246% in the U.S.
Since the dawn of boating, the marine industry has been dominated by men, and unfortunately, this stereotype has persisted. However, efforts have been made at the retail level in recent years to include women in the pitch to shop for and acquire boats of all shapes and sizes, and it’s paying off.
In the U.S., the number of women browsing boats online at Rightboat has seen a huge increase of 246% in the last 7 years. While the number of men searching for a new boat increased by 138%, the growth in searches by women was notably higher. There were 5,318 female boat browsers in 2017, and in 2023, after only six months, the number was up to 18,414. But which US states have the highest share of female browsers?
Washington shines as the top location for women who love boating
Of online boat browsers in 2023, to date, from Washington State, 22% are women, making this the state with the largest percentage of women consumers in the boating market. Interestingly, the share of women browsing for boats in Washington has jumped almost 13% since 2021, and this is only using 2023 data for the year to date.
Surprisingly, Washington State is one of the lowest states out of Rightboat’s top 10 in terms of the total number of boats registered. Despite being the top state for women boat shoppers on Rightboat, Washington has 266,717 registered boats in, placing it at 16th for boat registrations.
Washington provides the perfect playground for boating, thanks to the more than 3,000 miles of coastline to explore, not to mention the adventure of cruising among the San Juan Islands. For a more serene boating experience, Washington has plenty of tranquil lakes, such as Lake Washington, Lake Chelan and Lake Crescent.
Pennsylvania has the 2nd highest percentage of women boat consumers
Pennsylvania ranks as the second state with the largest percentage of women boat consumers, with 20.92% of window shoppers in Pennsylvania being women. This has surged by 15% since 2021. Boating is a popular activity in Pennsylvania with 357,729 boats registered in the state, making it the 11th highest number of registered boats in the United States.
Wondering where to go boating in Pennsylvania? The state's longest river, the Susquehanna River, is the perfect spot for exploration; the river runs from New York state to the Chesapeake Bay. There are plenty of top-rated bodies of water that have boat access ranging from Lake Erie and Lake Pymatuning to the Delaware Water Gap. However, if you’re craving speed, you may wish to visit Lake Wallenpaupack or Raystown Lake, both of which have no speed limitations.
California ranks 3rd in the nation for women boat consumers
California is home to more than 1 million registered boats in the state— the highest of all U.S states. And it ranks almost as high in the percentage of women among its boat shoppers—third, with 20.77%. That number has increased in the last two years as, in 2023, women consumers have increased by 11% compared to 2021 where there were 18.77% of women boat browsers.
Boaters in California can revel in the thrill of navigating the iconic swells of Monterey Bay, the strong winds of San Francisco Bay, or the quieter offshore waters of Channel Islands National Park, renowned for its breathtaking marine life. The calm waters of Lake Tahoe and Shasta Lake provide a peaceful backdrop for a day out boating.
Breaking waves: Texas secures 4th spot for women boat browsers
Boating is a popular activity in Texas with a massive 624,390 boat registrations in the state, placing it 6th overall. But, for women interested in boating, the state ranks even higher, in 4th place, as home to a high percentage of women shopping for boats. Of online boat consumers from Texas, 20.7% are women.
There are plenty of opportunities for women to get involved in boating in Texas. One program named Texas Women on the Water (WOW) offers boating education and certification classes for women. Alongside a variety of events and activities throughout the year designed to get women out on the water. There’s even a Texas Women Anglers Tournament, a fishing tournament for women that attracts hundreds of women anglers every year.
Women in Florida make a splash in the boating world, placing 5th
Florida is a great place to be a woman who loves boating. With its many waterways, beautiful beaches, and warm weather, there is no shortage of opportunities to get out on the water. So, it’s not so surprising that 20.68% of those shopping online for boats in Florida are women, placing it 5th nationwide. This has jumped 11% since 2021, when women made up only 18.7% of boat consumers in Florida.
After Florida, the states of Ohio, Georgia, and New York rank as sixth, seventh and eighth top states with the highest percentage of women boat consumers, with 20.4%, 19.5%, and 19.36% share respectively.
Women boat browsing surges 66% across the globe
Rightboat can reveal that the overall number of female browsers on its website has jumped a massive 66% since 2017. The share of women as window shoppers is still low internationally, similar to the U.S. with women generating only 23% of site traffic compared to 76% of men in 2022. However, this is a dramatic difference from 2017 when women accounted for only 16% of boat window shoppers.
Data is derived from Rightboat.com, an international website for searching for new and used boats that has, itself, shifted from a primary UK focus in 2018 to an increasingly global focus including the well-developed U.S. boating market. Over the years studied, the number of total users of the site has ranged from roughly 300,000 to 600,000, with 2020 a peak year during the initial Covid lockdown and mid-year 2023 projections suggesting another strong year in 2023.
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