The most ambitious survey ever undertaken with a focus on Australian recreational boat users was launched at Marine13 International Conference and Exhibition in Sydney. The survey has been developed as a joint venture by the Boating Industries Alliance Australia (BIAA) and the Marina Industries Association (MIA).
The primary survey objectives of the monthly online diary survey are to quantify the economic scale of recreational boating and to better understand the characteristics, habits and behaviours of recreational boaters. Types of information which will be obtained from the survey will include: number of boats, boat characteristics, boating days, trips and locations; spending, special issues and boat owner characteristics.
In launching the national research project MIA President Andrew Chapman indicated the Australian recreational boating industry was most fortunate in having the survey underpinned with the world class technical expertise of the Michigan State University based Recreational Marine Research Centre (RMRC). “RMRC has already delivered high quality marina industry research for the marina industry in Australia. This wider industry project builds on the relationship with RMRC who are globally recognised for their recreational marine research”.
Steve Jenkins, the GM of Coastal Infrastructure, Department of Transport (WA) also spoke at the launch. The Department is a funding partner in the project. He highlighted the importance of high quality data to inform government decision making with respect to investment in recreational marine infrastructure. Nathan Nichols, Director Cruise Craft spoke from an industry view point on the importance of good data and the gap in boating data that currently exists in Australia.
MIA EO Colin Bransgrove said there is an immediate opportunity for all industry businesses plus groups, clubs and associations; to promote participation in the survey to recreational boat owners that they are in communication with.
It is a two-step process he said. “Boat owners log onto the survey registration site www.australiaboatingsurvey.com and register to participate in the monthly online survey. Once registered, they will be emailed and surveyed monthly over the 12 month period. RMRC has been using this methodology with great success and it is a straight forward and confidential process”.
The survey web site is in test mode until 10 May when live registrations will commence. The monthly survey will commence by end June 2013. BIAA GM Nik Parker said there was an immediate opportunity for industry to get familiar with the survey and the registration process through the web site before it goes live. He also highlighted the opportunity for more investment in the survey particularly by state agencies that need better data to inform planning, policy and investment decisions.