Recreational boating in the Mid-Atlantic is an important activity that thousands of ocean users take part in during the summer months and throughout the entire year. Unfortunately, there is little documented data about the details of recreational ocean boating, such as duration of trips, and when and where boats visit.
With growing competition of other ocean uses such as shipping, commercial fishing, recreational fishing, offshore energy development, and national defense, it is important that ocean managers have the best available information of when and where uses take place in order to minimize conflicts.
To gain viable recreational boating information, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) is conducting the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Recreational Boater Survey. The survey will collect information over a course of six months (May through October 2013) from thousands of saltwater recreational boaters in the Mid-Atlantic States of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Inquiries will be made about the location, duration, time, activities, and money spent on trips. The data will be compiled to create maps and enhance MARCO's online mapping tool, the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal.
The methodology of this survey, which has been utilized in the 2010 Massachusetts Recreational Boater Survey and the 2012 Northeast Recreational Boater Survey, will randomly select individuals from state and federal boating databases. The selected individuals will receive a letter in the mail asking them to participate in monthly surveys via e-mail. The monthly surveys will ask the participants to describe their most recent boating trip in the past month.
The information gathered in this survey will provide a better understanding of how and where recreational boaters use the ocean to allow for efficient ocean planning. It also ensures that recreational boating areas are accounted for during evaluations and review processes of other ocean projects.