National Boater Panel Will Facilitate Industry Research

The Recreation Marine Research Center (RMRC) at Michigan State University is now in the process of recruiting the first National Recreational Boater Panel. It has already recruited more than 3,500 boaters from around the country and is hoping to recruit 7,000 to 9,000 more over the next several months. So far, RMRC has recruited only by e-mailing a sample of West Marine’s customers. RMRC planned to e-mail to 100,000 more of their customers by late August. Another 70,000 e-mails will be sent to boat-show visitors from around the country.

The on-line panel will provide the boating-industry agencies, businesses, and organizations with an efficient means of conducting ongoing boating research. The increased cost of conducting mail and telephone surveys coupled with the growing number of states that will not release boater registration lists, and the number of persons being added to "no-call lists" has reduced RMRC’s ability to do certain types of research, such as boating economic impacts, boater participation levels, and opinions and attitudes.

RMRC will use the panel and various sub-samples (e.g., sailors and powerboaters who keep their boats at marinas) to conduct nationally and regionally significant studies. For more information, log onto RMRC’s website, http://www.prr.msu.edu/boaterpanel.