USCG revises boat registration numbers

CHICAGO – Michigan has more registered boats than any other state in the country, according to the latest United States Coast Guard (USCG) boat registration numbers, released yesterday in a statement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).

In January, NMMA reported that California had unseated Michigan as the top state, based on earlier figures provided by the USCG. But those numbers proved to be incorrect, according to the association.

There were 1,000,337 boats registered in Michigan in 2002 (the latest data available). The revised numbers for California show there were 896,090 registered boats in 2002, actually dropping the Golden State into third place in the state rankings behind Florida, where 922,597 boats were registered, the NMMA reported.

“After we distributed a news release announcing 2002 boat registrations in mid-January, we were contacted by a representative from the state of California who told us that the numbers were incorrect due to an error in reporting the numbers to the USCG,” NMMA Director of Market Statistics Jim Petru said. “NMMA uses the USCG’s boat registration numbers to develop its annual Boating Facts and Figures statistical report [due for release this April], so we are glad the error was caught this early.”

Wisconsin’s registration numbers revised also

With January’s announcement also came the realization by Wisconsin officials that their states’ registration numbers were inflated as well. Personal watercrafts were tabulated twice originally, so the revised registration number is 619,124, compared to the 650,280 first reported, the NMMA said.

The correction dropped Wisconsin in the state rankings to number six, behind Texas, the press release said.

These revised figures had an impact on the overall numbers. The total number of registered boats dropped to 12.8 million, a decrease of 223,000 units compared to 2001 (0.2 percent).

“As we reported in January, the number of boats in use in the U.S. exceeds the 12.8 million reported by the USCG, since many small, non-powered crafts such as canoes and utility boats are not required to be registered in many states,” Petru said. “Accounting for those figures, we estimate there are roughly 17 million boats in use in the U.S. today.”

Revised rankings and number of boats per state

1. Michigan 1,000,337
2. Florida 922,597
3. California 896,090
4. Minnesota 834,974
5. Texas 624,390
6. Wisconsin 619,124
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. Iowa 229,705

Regional registrations decline with revised numbers

The new reporting numbers impacted regional registration figures also. Instead of a 6.4 percent increase in registrations, the Pacific region (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington) reported a 3.4-percent decline, according to the NMMA.

The Eastern North Central region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) remained the top region, but the total number of registered boats went down to 2.6 million, compared to 2.7 million, reflecting the change in Wisconsin’s registration numbers.

Boat registration statistics are compiled by individual states. The federal government uses them to allocate Aquatic Resource Trust Fund dollars 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.

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