NMMA Releases 2010 U.S. Recreational Boat Registration Statistics Report

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) today announced that boat registration numbers decreased 2.2 percent (or 282,615 boats) for a total of 12.5 million registered boats in 2010 compared to 2009’s 12.7 million. This new data is from NMMA’s 2010 U.S. Recreational Boat Registration Statistics Report, released this week.

Of the 12.5 million registered recreational boats, the report notes there were 183,930 new model year powerboats sold and registered in the U.S. in 2010. 

The report provides incredibly detailed registration data on a national, regional and state level and includes new boat registrations, U.S. Coast Guard documented boats and total registrations by boat segment, size, power, and hull material. Regional summaries include population/income estimates and shoreline/inland water data. The report again ranks each state based on total boat registrations with the top 10 being:

  1. Florida: 914,535 registered boats in 2010. Florida held the number one spot for total boat registrations, decreasing 3.6 percent from 2009’s 949,030.
  2. Minnesota: 813,976 registered boats in 2010. Minnesota moved from third to second for boat registrations, increasing 0.3 percent from 2009’s 811.775
  3. Michigan: 812,066 registered boats in 2010. Michigan moved from fourth to third, staying relatively flat in 2010 compared to 2009’s 811,670.
  4. California: 810,008 registered boats in 2010. California dropped to fourth from second, decreasing 10.7 percent compared to 2009’s 906,988.
  5. Wisconsin: 615,335 registered boats in 2010. Wisconsin remained ranked fifth, decreasing 1.8 percent compared to 2009’s 626,304.
  6. Texas: 596,830 registered boats in 2010. Texas held its sixth place ranking, decreasing 4.1 percent compared to 2009’s 622,184.
  7. New York: 475,689 registered boats in 2010. New York was again ranked seventh for total boat registrations, decreasing 0.7 percent from 2009’s 479,161.
  8. South Carolina: 435,491 registered boats in 2010. South Carolina held its ranking in eighth place, remaining flat with 2009’s 435,528.
  9. Ohio: 430,710 registered boats in 2010. Ohio kept its ninth place ranking for total boat registrations, increasing 1.4 percent compared to 2009’s 424,877.
  10. North Carolina: 400,846 registered boats in 2010. North Carolina again ranked tenth, decreasing 1.2 percent compared to 2009’s 405,663.

In addition, the report analyzes total boat registrations and finds:

  • 95 percent of mechanically propelled boats are less than 26 foot in length; 42 percent are less than 16 foot in length and 54 percent are between 16 and 25 foot in length.
  • 57 percent of mechanically propelled boats have hulls made of fiberglass; 38 percent have hulls made of metal.
  • 66 percent of mechanically propelled boats are outboard boats; 20 percent are inboard/PWC; and 13 percent are sterndrive boats.
  • The Pacific region posted the largest decline in registrations for 2010, down 9 percent compared to a year ago.
  • The Mid-Atlantic region posted a 2.7% increase in registrations.
  • The Great Lakes region again ranked first, accounting for slightly more than a quarter (27 percent) of registered boats in 2010.

“The annual U.S. Recreational Boat Registration Statistics Report allows us to grasp how many boats and what types of boats are on the water to get a deeper understanding of what Americans are buying and what type of boating their doing across the country,” says Jim Petru, director of industry statistics and research for NMMA. “Our 2010 findings tell us that recreational boating remained a popular activity with just a slight decline of 2.2 percent, during one of the toughest recessionary years from 2009 – 2010, further demonstrating boaters’ dedication to the lifestyle despite economic conditions.”

Responsibility for registering recreational boats in the U.S. falls onto the individual states that annually report their registration data to the U.S. Coast Guard. It is from this data that the 2010 U.S. Recreational Boat Registrations Statistics report is compiled. Other sources used in this report include the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Info-Link Technologies Inc, and Statistical Surveys, Inc.

Boat registrations statistics are the basis for allocating the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund dollars among the states each year.  In addition, NMMA uses the registration data to develop its estimates on annual state dollar sales of new boats, motors, trailers and marine accessories for its annual Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract.

Electronic copies of the study, in PDF format, are available at no charge to NMMA members by accessing the Center of Knowledge’s statistical library on NMMA.orgClick here to directly access the Report on the Statistical Library page. NMMA members will need their log-in information to access the link and can contact Bryan Welsh at [email protected] for log-in assistance.

Non-members can order the report for $600 by contacting Melissa Malito in NMMA’s fulfillment department at (312) 946-6209 or [email protected].

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About NMMA: National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry in North America. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The association is dedicated to industry growth through programs in public policy advocacy, market statistics and research, product quality assurance and promotion of the boating lifestyle. For more information, visit www.nmma.org.