U.S. boat registrations increase by 154,000

CHICAGO, Ill. – There were 13.0 million recreational boats registered in the United States in 2002, an increase of 154,000, or 1.2 percent from the previous year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reported in a statement today.

In addition, after years on top, Michigan has conceded its title as the number one boating state in the country to California, whose residents registered 1,051,606 recreational boats in 2002, NMMA reported.

NMMA used the registration data supplied by the USCG, the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Statistical Surveys, Inc. to develop the 2002 U.S. Recreational Boat Registration Statistics report.

Top 20 states list sees change in 2002

After California, Michigan is the second largest boating state, with a little more than 1,000,000 boats registered, according to NMMA. Mississippi rounds out the top 20, falling from 16th place, with 100,000 fewer boats registered in 2002.

Other changes in the top 20 rankings:

  • Wisconsin claims the number five spot from Texas, which moves down to number six;
  • Illinois is now ranked ninth; South Carolina falls to number ten;
  • Louisiana jumps two places to number 13, bumping Missouri and Georgia to 14th and 15th, respectively;
  • Tennessee and Virginia move up to ranks 18 and 19, respectively.
  • The state with the greatest increase in registered boats was Wisconsin, which jumped 12.9 percent compared to 2001, meanwhile, Mississippi witnessed the largest decline in registrations, dropping 33.9 percent. A representative from Mississippi’s Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks suggested registrations may have been compiled incorrectly in the past, and that the 2002 data is correct, NMMA reported.

    The top 20 states for registered boats recorded almost 75 percent of the total amount in the entire country, accounting for 9.7 million boats. The top ten states for boat registrations account for 52 percent of registered boats at 6.8 million, according to NMMA.

    Regional Rankings remain consistent

    Regional rankings remained consistent with the 2001 report, with the Eastern North Central region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin) holding on to the number one spot with 2.7 million boats, accounting for one out of every five boats registered in the country.

    The South Atlantic region (Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia) follows closely with 2.5 million registered boats, NMMA reported.

    Three regions experienced significant increases in registrations during 2002 while one showed a decline in the number of boats registered.

    Regions with increases:

  • Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA) – 6.4 percent
  • East North Central (IL, IN, MI, OH, WI) – 3.8 percent
  • New England (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT) – 2.0 percent
  • The only region with a decrease was East South Central (Al, KY, MS, TN), which saw boat registrations decline 9.6 percent.

    Boat registration statistics are compiled by individual states. The federal government uses these stats to allocate Aquatic Resource Trust Fund dollars among the states each year. NMMA uses the registration data to develop its estimates on annual state dollar sales of new boats, motors, trailers and marine accessories. This information will be available in April, NMMA reported.

    The 2002 U.S. Recreational Boat Registration Statistics report can be ordered by contacting the NMMA fulfillment department at (312) 946-6200. The cost is $60 for NMMA members; $150 for nonmembers.

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