Which state in Australia has the most boats?

Earlier this year Roy Morgan reported new data on the demographics of boat owners in Australia. Their press release on the findings opened with a rather morbid observation:


“With shark sightings a daily occurrence at beaches around the country lately, is swimming in the ocean such a good idea? Perhaps, rather than venturing in to the water, a safer option might be to stay on its surface?”


We’re almost certain that boat lovers like you (and us!) love being on the water for others reasons too! Like fishing, enjoying the sunshine or that feeling you get when sailing your boat across the harbour in perfect winds.


Reasoning aside, we delved into Roy Morgan’s report, and found out more about, well, ourselves, and these strange things called ‘quintiles’.


Boat ownership is on the up

According to Roy Morgan’s survey, boat ownership has increased by 1.9% since 2012. That may not sound like much, but consider that this is approximately 400,000 new boats on the water over the past 5 years.


More people in Australia own a smaller vessel, such as a dinghy, canoe or row boat (7.6% or 1.5 million Australians). And a whopping 1.3 million live in a home that also houses a motor boat or speed boat – that’s an increase of 1.1 million (or 5.9%) since 2012.


Yachts and sail boats are on the decline, with 176,000 fewer owners now than in 2012.

Naturally, there is some overlap, with 270,000 Aussie households owning a motor boat and smaller vessel, such as a canoe or rowboat.


Do people with boats have money?                                          

This is certainly a complex question, as everyone’s idea of a perfect or ‘standard’ income is likely to vary. What we can tell you is that James Packer on a superyacht is not the average Aussie boater.


Rather, it’s what data-heads would call a ‘middle-class’ Australian in the ‘C’ socio-economic quintile. Okay, in English?


Well, Roy Morgan collects thousands of data points from survey respondents and uses them to segment the Australian population in different ways.


Socio-economic quintiles work to segment Australians based on their income, occupation and education.


AB is the highest scoring (in the case of income, this would be the wealthiest) and FG is the lowest scoring (the least wealthy).


Roy Morgan’s research tells us that 15.5% of Australians in the C socio-economic quintile own a boat, which is more than any other demographic.


17.9% of people in the AB (wealthiest) quintile own boats, while those in the E and FG quintiles (least wealthy) are far less likely to own a boat.


In conclusion, middle income Australians are more likely to own a boat than anyone else. Norman Morris, the Industry Communications Director at Roy Morgan shared his views on the findings.


 “While it may seem initially surprising that boat ownership is more widespread in middle-class than wealthy households, it makes sense when we consider that dinghies, row boats and canoes comprise the most popular category of boat – all relatively affordable,” he said.


Which state has the most boats?                                               

Western Australia takes the cake on this one, while Queensland and Tasmania are a close second and third.


“Australia’s abundant coastline and waterways mean that aquatic activities are always going to be popular, and boating is no exception,” Morris said.
“Given that the Western Australian coast is the longest of all the states, it’s no surprise that 18.9% of WA residents live in a household with at least one boat: the highest rate in the country. Queensland residents are also well above average for boat ownership (15.6%), followed by Tasmanians (14.8%).”


For the sources of all data and findings quoted above, please head here.


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