Boating boom among middle aged Danes

Danes are showing renewed interest in a leisurely trip through the canals and coastlines along Copenhagen's harbour

The wind is back in the sails of the pleasure boat sector which has been marking time since the 1980s. Renewed interest in the hobby has seen doors of VIP yacht clubs open for everyone and is keeping boat dealers around the country busy.

The boating industry has seen a growth of some 60 percent in everything from boat sales to fishing rods and extra bells and whistles.

'If you look at the total sales growth in the last five years, we're talking about a growth of 50 to 60 percent, and it's still increasing,' said Jan Hansen, chairman of the board of the yachting industry association Danboat to public service broadcaster, DR.

At Ketner-Outdoor, one of the country's largest boat wholesalers, sales and marketing manager Mads Jeppesen seconds Hansen's estimates.

'If you compare sales of motorboats under 7.5 meter or 25 feet four years ago to today, there is a large increase, from around 2000 boats in 2002 to over 4500 this year,' said Jeppesen.

Over one million Danes want to dive into water activities, according to a Gallup survey commissioned by the yachting industry association. The water activities cover everything including kayaking, speedboats, and large sailboats and the most enthusiastic demographic including 30- to 49-year-olds.

Keeping up with the growing interest in water sports could prove to have its challenges for smaller boat dealers, but so far, no-one is complaining about the boom in the industry. Hansen doubts there has ever been a greater demand for pleasure boating.

'It was also good in the 70s, but boats weren't like they are today. I would much rather be a boat dealer today than back then,' said Hansen.

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