Exploring the crowding-satisfaction relationship in recreational boating

Yung Ping Tseng, Gerard T. Kyle, C. Scott Shafer, Alan R. Graefe, Timothy A. Bradle, Michael A. Schuett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Along with the growing boating population and the number of boats in use on limited inland waterways, boater expectations of setting density, safety perceptions, and the associated impacts on their experience (e.g., satisfaction) are becoming increasingly important. The primary purpose of this article was to explore a recreational boating crowding-satisfaction model derived from previous work using safety and enjoyment as mediating variables. We also tested our crowding-satisfaction model among day and overnight users. Our analysis revealed no significant difference between day and overnight users for any of the relationships tested in our model. Our final model indicated as respondents' expectations for seeing people increased along with their feelings of being crowded, they were more inclined to consider the conditions on the lake as being unsafe. They were also more inclined to indicate that the number of people they had seen on the lake detracted from their boating experience. Respondents' satisfaction was tied to their perceptions of crowding. Mediating variables illustrated that the relationship was conditioned by perceptions of safety and enjoyment. Analysis of the indirect effect observed in our study illustrate that when the number of people seen on the lake exceed respondents' expectations, their perceptions of safety and enjoyment both decline, resulting in lower satisfaction. These findings have implications for managing recreational boating use on inland lake systems. Given the role played by expectations in our model, efforts to communicate with boaters about conditions on these waterways is important for helping them plan their boating experience and avoid situations they consider unsafe or unsatisfactory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-507
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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