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Is it getting more crowded out there?

7010 Views 45 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Group9
I keep hearing that sailing is on the decline. Boat sales seem to be down (at least big boat sales), and I keep hearing that fewer young people are getting into activity. At the same time I also keep reading (here and other places) that popular cruising areas have never been busier. Anchorages are apparently full and moorings are hard to get.

Seems contradictory.

As someone just beginning the full-time journey, I'm curious what to expect "out there." Is it more packed than it has ever been (as I often read here), or is there a decline in boaters, and hence a reduction in busy anchorages and marinas?
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My perception has been that some popular harbors appear to be more crowded around my local waters. But, that's because more moorings have been dropped by yacht clubs and weekend sailors and the anchoring areas have shrunk. During the week and especially after Labor Day (U.S.) the place is pretty empty. But, if you are not interested in taking the dingy into a town for dinner every night you can still find places to drop the hook where you can find a world of ones own pretty easily.
The peak of the "Baby Boomers" is now 58 years old. So there will probably be a bump up in crowds as well in the next couple of years as they retire and "follow the dream". Though the crowds may not be as big as they could have been had the recession not knocked people for a loop in the 401K's etc...
Damn ... maybe I am leaving too early.

Reading through many of the posts make me think about developing a plan to avoid all these over-crowded areas. It sounds like there are still plenty of places where one can find solitude, but many of the more popular places are becoming over-crowded.

I'm more used to celebrating when we even see another cruising boat. Up until last year we were on Lake Superior, and could go for weeks without even seeing another cruiser (we'd usually see more kayakers). This past year we sailed south through four of the five Great Lakes. It certainly got a lot busier as we headed south, but we were still able to find empty anchorages (perhaps b/c we were willing to anchor in places few locals do :confused::confused:). We're now planning to spend the coming season in Lake Ontario, cruising the 1000 Islands/Bay of Quinte/to Toronto and then south. This will likely be an eye-opener given the large number of boats down here.
One can still find those uncrowded places. Even in crowded metropolitan areas if you know where to look. Here is one of my favorites just 12 miles up the Hudson River from New York City (pop 8.5 million). I'm often the only boat there when I drop anchor. You might want to check it out when you start to head south. So many pass it by heading for the "BIG TOWN".
Here is one of my rules to avoid crowds. If I'm in my boats home port I never leave the mooring on U.S. Holiday weekends like Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day etc... I enjoy watching the parade of boats coming and going while sitting back in the cockpit enjoying some libations. I amuse myself counting how many times Sea Tow comes back towing some of them back in.;)
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That theory makes sense to me. Retiring boomers are probably better fixed financially to cruise if they want to, better than the generations before them. That's the category we fall into and we're about to leave on one again, because we have the finances to retire early, (we're in our fifties).

Last cruise I went on, it was mostly retirees we ran into.
Yeah, there are probably a lot of people around retirement age who are still enjoying the last remnants of "dinosaur benefits" aka a Pension Plan. That enables them to have a little more security. The days of working for a company until retirement and getting the gold watch along with the Pension a pretty much gone. I wonder if the younger generations of workers will have the ability/will to save enough to enjoy their later years like a lot of cruisers do today. Then again the upside is the crowds will thin out too.
The question that occurs to me is - will this result in more or less people heading off into the sunset? On one hand, you won't have the safe income. On the other, no compelling reason to stick around either.
Hmmm.. That reminded me about the cruise I took up to Hook Mountain just before superstorm Sandy hit the area. I met two young guys on two separate boats in my travels who were making their way south. One guy in his early thirties had quit his IT job to sail south. He figured since he was not married, no kids and it seemed like a good idea to do it now. The other fellow was a little younger late twenties and he was heading south too. Since superstorm Sandy hit the area a few days later. I often wonder what happened to them if they and their boats made it. But, they certainly were not waiting for retirement to make the trip.
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