Volume of Recreational boating vessels in the U.S. 2010, 2019, 2021, by state

How many boats are there in each state?

We gathered data from multiple sources including our own Boat-Alert history databases to give you a big picture of the count of boats registered in the USA by state. We hope you find this useful as it is provided in table format and charts for convenience. You should note that numbers have gone up significantly in the summer of 2021 due to many new boat buyers entering the market that year.

2021 Recreational Boating Statistics

The data sources below can conflict and it depends on the year the data was collected. Having said that, the numbers are still close within a few thousand boats. In some cases, the inactive boats (historical) may be counted. If you are looking for specifics on each state and how to title your boat, check Boat Registration and Titling in Each U.S. State.

Top 20 states with most registered boats rankings

The top state with the most boats is probably Florida or California, However some charts show Minnesota as having more boats. This depends on how you count historical boats and when the data was collected. The table below lists the numbers to the best of our abilities but they can and will change by the end of the 2021 boating season. No matter how you slice it, the top ten boating states in the U.S. include Florida, California, New York and Michigan when ranking by revenue, registered boats or marinas by state.

Recreational Boat Registration Statistics Report

US StateNumber of Boats Per statePercent of all boats in the USA in this state
Washington State1,212,0007.45%
South Carolina780,0004.79%
North Carolina635,7233.91%
New York570,0003.50%
New Jersey150,0000.92%
New Hampshire100,0000.61%
West Virginia60,0000.37%
North Dakota56,0000.34%
South Dakota53,0000.33%
Rhode Island40,0000.25%
New Mexico32,0000.20%
Puerto Rico25,0000.15%
U.S. Virgin Islands3,0000.02%
Washington DC2,0000.01%
american samoa750.00%
Table showing number of boats by state in the USA as well as the percentage of total boat registration in the country

Animation comparison:

Top sales figures for boats in each state

There were 13.0 million recreational boats registered in the United States in 2002 according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Today, in 2021, it is closer to 16.0 million.

Boat Alert History Report · How many boats are there in each U.S. State? 2021 boat counts data

Recreational Boat Registration Statistics Report for 2020

Data from one source showing counts of boats per US State (source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1155988/us-recreational-boating-vessels/)
Boat Registrations by state 2019 data from Nasbla showing the top and bottom colored in yellow and greem.
Boat Registrations by State 2019 data from Nasbla showing the top and bottom colored in yellow and green.

Historical Data

Back in 2002, the top 20 states and the total number of boats registered in each used to be:

  1. California 1,051,606
  2. Michigan 1,000,337
  3. Florida 922,597
  4. Minnesota 834,974
  5. Wisconsin 650,280 (greatest increase from 2001 to 2002)
  6. Texas 624,390
  7. New York 529,732 
  8. Ohio 413,276 
  9. Illinois 398,431 
  10. South Carolina 383,971 
  11. Pennsylvania 357,729 
  12. North Carolina 353,625 
  13. Louisiana 327,272 
  14. Missouri 325,717 
  15. Georgia 325,135 
  16. Washington 266,717 
  17. Alabama 264,191 
  18. Tennessee 259,235 
  19. Virginia 243,590 
  20. Mississippi 199,037

According to 2009 NMMA annual sales data, the top 10 boating states in the U.S. were:

  1. Florida
    With a year round warm climate and thousands of miles of shoreline, it is not surprising that Florida continues to be ranked number one in the top ten boating states in the U.S. 2009 Boat Sales: $1.2 billion.
  2. Texas
    Ranking 6th in the U.S. for registered recreational boats; boaters in the state of Texas enjoy more square miles of inland waterways than any other state in the U.S. 2009 Boat Sales: $906 million.
  3. California
    Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, boaters in the state of California have access to the ocean, bays, lakes and rivers as well as a warm and mild year round climate. 2009 Boat Sales: $417 million.
  4. North Carolina
    From coastal boating to inland rivers and lakes, boating is one of the state’s most popular sports with over 300,000 registered boaters in North Carolina. 2009 Boat Sales: $395 million.
  5. New York
    With more than 7,500 lakes, ponds and reservoirs and over 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, boating is a favorite pastime in the state of New York. 2009 Boat Sales: $381 million.
  6. Louisiana
    Surrounding by the Gulf of Mexico, boating is a way of life in the state of Louisiana from fishing charters to pleasure cruisers. 2009 Boat Sales: $370 million.
  7. Washington
    Despite the shorter boating season, boaters love Washington’s hundreds of miles of protected saltwater and surrounding waterfront communities. 2009 Boat Sales: $310 million.
  8. Delaware
    An unexpected entry on the top 10 list, Delaware is the second smallest state in the U.S. Although Delaware is bordered by the ocean and bay, many boats are likely purchased for use in Maryland waterways on the Chesapeake Bay. 2009 Boat Sales: $330 million.
  9. Michigan
    The Great Lakes, inland lakes and rivers in Michigan gives much of the state easy access to fresh water boating despite a colder climate. 2009 Boat Sales: $317 million.
  10. Minnesota
    With 11,842 lakes, 69,200 miles of rivers and streams and about 4,000 miles of water trails, boating is a focal point for outdoor activity for Minnesota. 2009 Boat Sales: $308 million…

For details on the 2014 boating statistics visit U.S. Boat Registrations Report (nmma.org).

Video of historical data changes for state boat counts:

Number of Marinas by state:

Top ten boating states ranked by number of marinas by state:

  1. New York
  2. Florida
  3. Michigan
  4. Maryland
  5. California
  6. New Jersey
  7. Washington
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Ohio

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