From sea to shining sea, Americans love boating. With oceans, lakes, rivers and bays, boating is a popular recreational activity in nearly every state in the U.S. The top 10 boating states in the U.S. provide boaters with beautiful waterways, ample marina services and exciting cruising destinations.
Each year, the U.S. National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announces the top boating states in the U.S. based on annual sales of new powerboats, motors, trailers and accessories. Although annual sales are not the only way to measure overall boating activity, it is a good indicator of the popularity of boating in a particular area.
According to 2009 NMMA annual sales data, the top 10 boating states in the U.S. are:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite the shorter boating season, boaters love Washington’s hundreds of miles of protected saltwater and surrounding waterfront communities. 2009 Boat Sales: $310 million.
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.
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.
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.
Due to a weakened economy throughout 2009, the number of new boats purchased fell 19% from the prior year as many boaters opted not to buy or buy new. Since new boat sales in 2009 are not necessarily indicative of current boating activity, top boating states can also be evaluated based on registered boats and marinas by state.
The top 10 boating states ranked by number of registered boats (based on 2008 NMMA data) were Florida, Minnesota, California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, New York, South Carolina, Ohio and Illinois.
Of course all those boats need a home port and transient destinations when cruising throughout the state. Available marinas by state should also be another important measure when determining top boating states.
The top ten boating states ranked by number of marinas by state as reported by MarineFuel.com are:
1. New York
6. New Jersey
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.
U.S. National Marine Manufacturers Association