Which U.S. State Has The Most Recreational Boats & Yachts per Capita?
Boating is a true American passion — an estimated 100 million Americans enjoy boating each year. Annual U.S. sales of boats, marine products, and services reached an impressive $49.3 billion in 2020. Of these marine vessels, 95% were made in the United States, which is a testament to the nautical devotion that is deeply anchored to American heritage. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis, recreational boating and fishing was the number one contributor to the $689 billion outdoor recreation economy. So which state is the “captain” of boat ownership? The team at Staten Island Yachts has reeled in some fascinating data to discover which states have the most boats and yachts per capita.
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How Many Boats Are in the United States?
If you've you ever looked out and admired the countless serene sails swaying on glittering waters and wondered, “How many boats are in America?” the National Marine Manufacturers Association has the answer: There are 17 million recreational boats and yachts (13 million registered and 4 million unregistered) in the United States.
What State Has the Most Boats per Capita?
It may come as a surprise that Minnesota is the state with the most boats per person, at approximately 143.6 boats per thousand people. What percentage of Minnesotans own a boat? Seven percent of Minnesotans own a boat, making it the unofficial boating capital of the United States. That's about one in every six Minnesotans owning a boat, with that number shifting to one in three as you head north of Duluth.
Where are the best places to boat in Minnesota? Minnesota is called “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” (11,842 to be exact), so there is a dazzling abundance of open waters to choose from! It's home to Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in America and the largest lake in the world by surface area. More fun facts about Lake Superior are that it spans 31,700 square miles and holds 10% of Earth's surface fresh water! Lake Superior boating is wonderful because the average underwater visibility is 27 feet, making it the cleanest and clearest of the Great Lakes. You can discover many infamous Lake Superior shipwrecks, access the pristine, isolated Isle Royal National Park by boat or yacht, or explore one of the 30 lighthouses along the shore. But is Lake Superior good for fishing? Absolutely! It is home to more than 80 species of fish and fed by more than 200 rivers.
What State Has the Most Boat Registrations?
Florida is the state with the most registered boats used for recreation, having 8.133% of all recreational boat and yacht registrations in the United States. Florida boat sales also lead the fleet at $4.3 billion in 2020. Exactly how many boats are in Florida? In March of 2022, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced that Florida boat registrations had surpassed 1 million! Of course, with so many boaters enjoying all of the wondrous waterways Florida has to offer, it is important to be safe. The FWC has provided a treasure chest of boating safety tips that are vital no matter where in America you set sail.
Boats and Yachts per 1,000 People
|Rank||State||Boats and Yachts per 1,000 People|
Distribution of Recreational Boat and Yacht Registrations by State
|Rank||State||Distribution of Recreational Boat
and Yacht Registrations by State
Notes about the data from the United States Coast Guard:
- Minnesota excludes non-motorized boats 10 feet or less in length, duckboats during duck-hunting season, rice boats during harvest season, and seaplanes.
- Michigan excludes manually propelled boats 16 feet or less in length and privately owned non-motorized rafts, canoes, and kayaks.
- Pennsylvania registers non-powered craft using lakes or access areas owned by the State Fish & Boat Commission.
- Washington excludes motorboats.
- Iowa excludes inflatables under 7 feet in length and canoes/kayaks under 13 feet in length.
- New Jersey excludes non-motorized boats less than 12 feet in length and canoes, kayaks, racing shells, and rowing sculls.