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How Do Anglers and Non-Anglers Differ When They Hire a Boat?

Research shows that regardless of whether people fish, they share some similar tastes in chartered trips — but the findings also reveal how charter companies might hook more non-anglers.

Research Need

It’s safe to generalize that a portion of our state’s anglers like to book and take charter fishing trips each year. In fact, North Carolina has the fourth largest number of charter boat trips on the East Coast, behind only New York, New Jersey and Florida.

But people who don’t fish also book charter fishing trips, and, when you consider the demographics of the state and the country, there are way more non-anglers than anglers. Since non-anglers may never seek out a traditional fishing trip with a charter captain, how are charter captains to know how to appeal to this share of the market?

It’s not that often that researchers ask non-anglers hypothetical questions about fishing, but when they do, the results can be interesting and often surprising — especially to charter captains interested in more business.

What did they study?

Researchers in South Carolina asked 277 licensed anglers and 267 non-anglers (mostly tourists) the same questions about fishing to determine the differences in their preferences when selecting potential charter boat trips. The study offered participants choice experiments in which they received details about two hypothetical trips and then chose one.

The trips included differences in onboard amenities, nearby tourism activities, quality of captain and crew, onboard marine nature-based tourism, onboard marine history and culture-based tourism, interpretation and education services, and the cost of the trip.

What did they find?

When deciding between trips, people who fish and people who don’t both valued the quality of captain and crew, onboard amenities and the cost of the trip.

Anglers, however, were willing to pay more per hour for the highest quality captain and crew ($115), compared to non-anglers, who preferred to spend less than $70.

In contrast, non-anglers were willing to pay for the highest quality of onboard amenities ($63 per hour), compared to anglers ($41). In addition, only non-anglers valued onboard nature-based tourism.

 So what?

These findings indicate that businesses who offer charter fishing trips can reap the highest return on investment by focusing on providing better customer service through a higher quality of captain and crew. In addition, companies that want to branch out from fishing charters should consider appealing to non-anglers by offering onboard nature-based tourism operations and high-quality onboard amenities.


Oh, Chi-Ok, Laura W. Jodice, Jarrett R. Bachman, William E. Hammitt. 2016. Angler and non-angler preferences for non-consumptive value-added products and services associated with charter boat trips. Ocean & Coastal Management. Volume 130. Pp. 299-308.

The South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium supported this work with NOAA financial assistance award NA10OAR4174170073.

Summary and photo by Scott Baker

The text from Hook, Line & Science is available to reprint and republish, but only in its entirety and with this attribution: Hook, Line & Science, courtesy of Scott Baker and Sara Mirabilio, North Carolina Sea Grant.