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Hard to name but easy to love

A recent survey yields some interesting tidbits about boats and the people who prize them

A recent survey yields some interesting tidbits about boats and the people who prize them

If choosing a name for your child takes all the care and creativity you can muster, how hard can it be to find the right name for your boat?

For some people, it’s even harder. Nearly a quarter of boaters (22 percent) say they found it more difficult to name their boat than their pet or child, according to a recent national survey of 1,000 boaters. That doesn’t surprise Scott Hall, boat product manager for the Progressive Group of Insurance Cos., which polled the boaters online.

“When you talk with boaters every day like we do, you see first-hand how emotionally attached they are to their boats,” he says.

Mayfield Village, Ohio-based Progressive undertook the light-hearted survey to gain more insight into boaters’ behaviors and attitudes. Boat names figure prominently in the results. Most often, the names boat owners choose reflect other important priorities in their lives, other passions. The most popular inspiration is the name of a significant other (14 percent), followed by occupation (8 percent)— or, for anglers, a child’s name (also 8 percent).

Some even have named their boat “Not Yet” because they are tired of peopleasking, “Have you named the boat yet?” A few show their affection for the boat by naming it “The Other Woman,” yet half of all those surveyed say there’s no one they would rather boat with than their spouse or their girlfriend or boyfriend.

Could boating be conducive to fidelity? To spending more time with loved ones? Could it be an antidote to workaholism? Fifty-one percent of respondents say they take Friday off from work to spend more time on theirboats, 37 percent say they put in less overtime, 23 percent say they work fewer hours each day, 7 percent say they call in sick ... all so they can go boating. Anglers are more likely to call in sick (9 percent compared to 6 percent for others).

The survey revealed that professionals — doctors, lawyers, engineers — are most likely to name their boats after their occupations, followed by people in the retail sales, hotel and restaurant businesses. Yet less than 1 percent surveyed say they go out most often with a colleague from work. “I guess that’s understandable, with the amount of time we spend at work,” Hallsays. “People are trying to get away from work.”

A surprising number want to get away not just from co-workers but from everybody. Twenty-five percent of men and 17 percent of women — closet solo sailors — prefer boating alone instead of with others. A testimony to water’s curative effects: More than half (54 percent) say the main reason they go boating simply is to get out on the water.

“For most people we surveyed, boating tends to be a very family-oriented activity,” Hall says. “It’s an escape from the office and from the hectic lifestyle to someplace where it’s quiet.”

The survey revealed some interesting differences among boaters. For instance, 29 percent of older boaters (65 and up) say “The African Queen” is their favorite boating movie, while 26 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds like “Titanic.” Women are partial to “Titanic” (24 percent), while men prefer “Hunt for Red October” (25 percent). “The Perfect Storm” registers highest with all segments surveyed (19 percent).

Anglers differ somewhat from boaters in general. More than a third of all boaters (37 percent) name their boats, but anglers are less likely to, 29 percent vs. 42 percent for other boaters, the survey shows. One in 11 boaters (9 percent) shops just one day for a boat before buying it. Anglers are more likely to do this, 11 percent to 8 percent for other boaters, suggesting they either are more impulsive — or more decisive, knowing exactly what they want.

The largest percentage of boaters (30 percent) spends about a month shopping for a boat. Older boaters— perhaps because they have both a clearer idea and the money to buy the boat of their dreams — are three times more likely to shop just a day for their boat (18 percent versus 5 percent, for younger people).

On a more serious note, the survey reveals that 48 percent of boatersdon’t shop around for insurance, so they often don’t get the best rates and aren’t aware of coverage options available from different insurers, a statistic Hall hopes will come down.

In the room-for-improvement category, 7 percent of those boaters who spend less than an hour a week with their children say they spend five hours a week tinkering with their boats.

It’s time to gather up the family and go boating.