by Jeni Bone
The scope and value of Australian boating will be the focus of the BIAA’s ground-breaking study – the first of its kind in this country – which will begin in November 2012 and aims to demonstrate the importance of boating, both economically and socially.
Boating offers something for everybody!
According to Nik Parker, GM of the Booating Industries Alliance Australi (BIAA), 'The Australian Boater Survey' will 'update data on the industry and boating, its value, both social and economic, so we can understand the value of boating in this country and then use the information for lobbying any issue'.
Previous data collection has been haphazard and limited to 'point in time' capture of the boating public’s opinion about certain issues, as well as boat ownership data and boating habits.
'There have been snapshot surveys conducted by the BIAs and a national report in to the economic value of boating conducted by Economic and Market Development Advisers in 2007, but to our knowledge, there has never been anything on this scale.'
Partners in the survey include RMIT Melbourne and University of Queensland, as well as the University of Michigan University in the US.
Data collection for the survey will begin online in November, when the BIAA will invite participants in WA and NSW to register.
'Researchers at the University of Michigan tell us we should be able to refer to useful data within a few months, but obviously we will consider this a year-long exercise with results and valuable insight available by the end of 2013. This is an on-going research tool that will be updated monthly to give us an accurate picture of boating and all its aspects.'
Importantly, the results will be used counter certain perceptions in the community and at government level of 'boating being the rich man’s preserve'.
Parker refers to figures such as '850,000 registered boats, one million boating licence holders, three million active boating participants and upwards of five million recreational fishers, supported by an industry of 28,000+ generating over $5bn per annum – which is not inconsiderable'.
'People and many politicians/policy-makers don’t seem to understand the worth of the sector and scale of participation. Our objective is to glean evidence of what we know intuitively – that boating is loved by people from all walks of life and every background.'
More at www.biaa.com.au