Navigate These Boating Trends in 2018

BY Courtney Huckabay

Technological change is sweeping the boating world, and boat builders have been churning out newer, better designs that deliver greater value than ever, boat​.com reports. Thanks to CAD designs, 3D printing and a host of new technologies, today’s boats offer all-​new levels of quality, comfort and reliability. Here’s a look at emerging trends in new boat design.

Painted Tubes on Pontoons

"While not harmful, the discoloration that so often occurs to aluminum that’s been left in the water for a while does detract from the overall look. Some builders have begun offering painted pontoons that escape this problem," Craig Ritchie writes.

Outboard-​Powered Deck Boats

"Deck boats are coming back in a big way thanks to more recent developments in outboard power. Now pushed by V6 outboards of up to 300 horsepower, deck boats are retaking their place in the market, and the new outboard designs offer more interior space than ever."

Marinas and watercraft dealers can display their newest, on-​trend models at boat shows this season! The new AudienceSCAN survey reported 6.2% of Americans plan to attend boat shows during the next 12 months.

No More Carpet

"New synthetic flooring made from contemporary vinyl offers the same comfy, non-​skid surface, yet dries in minutes and is far easier to clean at the end of a day on the water."

Track Systems

"Increasingly, fishing boats are coming straight from the factory with track systems as standard equipment – either installed on top of the gunnels or integrated right into their design."

Ventilated Rod Storage

"Ventilate the rod storage lockers with a power fan. It’s a simple idea, and it works like magic to eliminate the mildew and funkiness of a well-​used rod locker. Most systems are controlled with a timer."

Boat sellers can reach the fishing boat show crowd with ads sponsoring local boat shows. The latest AudienceSCAN study found 35% of Boat Show Attendees love fishing. They'll be pumped about the fishing boat trends mentioned above!

Digital Dashboards

"The newest digital touchscreen displays integrate with every system in the boat so you can control it all – stereo, engine, fish finder, GPS and more – from one or more touch screen displays. The best ones have specially-​designed screens you can view from any angle, even while wearing polarized sunglasses."

LED Lighting

"They’re fully sealed to eliminate corrosion issues, and the diodes last for tens of thousands of hours of use. LEDs can be tuned to different colors, so you can just give your boat a cool look, or preserve your night vision when fishing after dark."

These techie trends just might sway tech-​loving boat shoppers. The most recent AudienceSCAN data showed 15% of Boat Show Attendees are in the market for boats or personal watercraft sometime in the next year.

Bow Ladders

"In the past, beaching the boat meant stepping over the side and getting soaked. But a bow ladder lets you and your guests get to shore with a minimum of fuss, and without having to wade through any weeds."

Digital Throttle and Shift

"Drive-​by-​wire is the buzz in boating as digital shift and throttle systems bring all-​new levels of reliability and smooth operation to boaters. Beyond that, digital engine controls allow even greater technological miracles like digital anchoring, where the GPS automatically holds the boat in position by controlling the steering, throttle and gear shift to keep it still while you fish or dig out the fenders and dock lines."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.