States with the most boat owners

GetMyBoat ranked states by their concentrations of registered boats using data from an RTI International recreational boating survey.  

Posted

Yachtsman moors his motor boat at jetty.

UfaBizPhoto // Shutterstock

The strong bond between humans and water has been portrayed in literature, music, and paintings for centuries. Owning a boat and living close to water is the ultimate life goal of many.

The United States has unparalleled bodies of water that allow inhabitants of each of the 50 states to have, if they wish, a close connection with oceans, lakes, lagoons, waterfalls, or rivers. From Niagara Falls to the picture-perfect beaches of Hawaii, and from the majesty of the Great Lakes to the melody-inspiring banks of the Mississippi River, Americans enjoy a privileged geography when it comes to their proximity to iconic bodies of water.

GetMyBoat ranked states by their concentrations of registered boats per 100 residents, using data from a 2018 RTI International survey. The survey, which was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard, is the most recent and most comprehensive look at recreational boat ownership in the country.

On average nationwide, there are only 11 registered boats per 100 residents. But in some states, there are many more. It may come as a surprise that Florida, California, and Hawaii are nowhere near the top 10 of the ranking. States on the East Coast, and some in the South and Midwest, rank higher. But the Sunshine State is second only to Michigan in terms of how many boats its residents have registered.

Read on to find out where boating and boat ownership are most common.

#51. Hawaii

Honokohau Marina and Small Boat Harbor.

Billy McDonald // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 2.5 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 36,000 (rank: #51)

#50. Nevada

Luxury boat is docked at the Thunderbird Lodge in Incline Village.

thetahoeguy // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 2.9 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 93,000 (rank: #46)

#49. Texas

Corpus Christi skyline on the bay in the day.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 3.1 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 922,000 (rank: #8)

#48. California

Boats docked at Oceanside Harbor.

Wirestock Creators // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 3.3 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 1.3 million (rank: #4)

#47. New Mexico

Navajo Lake Marina in the Southwestern New Mexico Desert.

Brenda Landdeck // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 3.3 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 70,000 (rank: #49)

#46. Arizona

House boats and pleasure boats moored in Lake Powell.

PHOTOSHOOT1 // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 3.5 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 260,000 (rank: #35)

#45. New Jersey

Aerial of boats in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

FotosForTheFuture // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 3.6 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 334,000 (rank: #31)

#44. Illinois

Chicago skyline with boats on the water.

blewisphotography // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 4.5 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 566,000 (rank: #15)

#43. Ohio

Cedar Point boats at dock.

buyhighsellcheap // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 4.9 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 573,000 (rank: #14)

#42. Utah

Lake Powell in Utah with houseboats and canyons.

Fotoluminate LLC // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 5.0 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 169,000 (rank: #41)

#41. Kansas

Fishing boat launching at Kaw Point ramp with a cityscape of Kansas City.

marekuliasz // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 5.9 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 172,000 (rank: #40)

#40. Massachusetts

New Bedford Harbor with boats on the water.

Matthew Botelho // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 6.3 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 442,000 (rank: #24)

#39. Pennsylvania

Boats docked along the Monongahela River on a sunny day.

Georgina Burrows // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 6.5 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 842,000 (rank: #9)

#38. New York

Boats docked at a marina next to the Dunkirk City Pier.

woodsnorthphoto // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 6.7 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 1.3 million (rank: #3)

#37. Tennessee

Autumn on the Tennessee River with boats docked and the Henley Street Bridge.

Marcus E Jones // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 6.8 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 476,000 (rank: #22)

#36. Virginia

Norfolk downtown cityscape over the Elizabeth River.

Sean Pavone // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 6.9 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 595,000 (rank: #12)

#35. Georgia

Boats and yachts docked and sailing in the marina on Lake Lanier.

Marcus E Jones // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 7.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 783,000 (rank: #11)

#34. Washington

Seattle downtown waterfront buildings.

SvetlanaSF // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 7.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 560,000 (rank: #18)

#33. Kentucky

Sailboat marina on the bank of the Ohio River.

Angela N Perryman // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 7.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 327,000 (rank: #33)

#32. Mississippi

A harbor in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sabrina Janelle Gordon // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 7.4 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 217,000 (rank: #38)

#31. North Carolina

Aerial view of condos and a marina with boats in Morehead City.

Kyle J Little // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 7.5 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 799,000 (rank: #10)

#30. Indiana

Boats docked at Millennium Plaza.

Lewis Photo Studio // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 7.7 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 523,000 (rank: #19)

#29. Florida

Biscayne Bay water by residential homes with private boat docks.

Andriy Blokhin // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 7.7 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 1.7 million (rank: #2)

#28. Maryland

Harbor Area of Annapolis on a cloudy spring day with sail boats.

Christian Hinkle // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 8.0 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 491,000 (rank: #21)

#27. Oklahoma

People on a boat on Lake Thunderbird.

Alonzo J. Adams // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 8.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 330,000 (rank: #32)

#26. Alabama

Boats sitting in a marina.

Darryl Vest // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 8.3 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 419,000 (rank: #26)

#25. Colorado

Boat owner only sign on a Marina Dock.

Kristilee Jones // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 8.7 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 507,000 (rank: #20)

#24. Missouri

Poolside view of boats docked at lakeside condo on a sunny day at Lake of the Ozarks.

Water Street // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 9.1 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 561,000 (rank: #17)

#23. Wyoming

Boats on a lake at sunset in Colter Bay with Grand Teton Mountains.

JFunk // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 9.3 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 54,000 (rank: #50)

#22. Connecticut

Boats docked in Greenwich Harbor.

James Andrews1 // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 9.3 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 339,000 (rank: #30)

#21. Louisiana

Marina with anchored boats.

l i g h t p o e t // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 9.7 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 446,000 (rank: #23)

#20. South Dakota

Aerial top picture of a dock basin with moorings and supplies for yachts and small boats.

GLF Media // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 9.8 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 89,000 (rank: #47)

#19. Rhode Island

Harbor of Newport Rhode Island with Trinity Church.

Mary Terriberry // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 10.6 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 116,000 (rank: #45)

#18. Iowa

Aerial view of Lake Okoboji.

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 10.6 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 340,000 (rank: #29)

#17. North Dakota

Berth with motorboat.

FOTOGRIN // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 10.8 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 84,000 (rank: #48)

#16. Arkansas

Mooring rope and bollard on water and yachts in background.

i_photos // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 11.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 342,000 (rank: #28)

#15. Idaho

View from the Tubbs Hill hiking trail of the Sanders Beach lakefront community of homes.

Kirk Fisher // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 12.8 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 249,000 (rank: #36)

#14. Delaware

View of waterfront homes with boat docks.

Khairil Azhar Junos // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 13.4 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 136,000 (rank: #42)

#13. Oregon

Depoe Bay Harbor on the Oregon Coast with boats tied up.

Ian Dewar Photography // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 13.6 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 577,000 (rank: #13)

#12. West Virginia

Bee Run Recreational Area and its marina in Braxton County.

Malachi Jacobs // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 14.9 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 264,000 (rank: #34)

#11. Michigan

Aerial view of Traverse City marina in Michigan.

SNEHIT PHOTO // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 17.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 1.7 million (rank: #1)

#10. Alaska

Small boat piers and docking slots on greenish Resurrection Bay water.

Claudine Van Massenhove // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 17.9 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 131,000 (rank: #43)

#9. Minnesota

Boats in a marina in Minnesota.

gmstockstudio // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 17.9 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 1.0 million (rank: #7)

#8. Montana

The marina at Gate of the Mountains.

Butler Stock Photography // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 18.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 204,000 (rank: #39)

#7. Vermont

People gather to watch boats along the water at the Burlington Marina.

Erika J Mitchell // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 18.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 118,000 (rank: #44)

#6. Wisconsin

Boats docked at Fish Creek in Door County.

John Touscany // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 18.5 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 1.1 million (rank: #6)

#5. South Carolina

Harbor Town and boats docked on the water in Hilton Head Island.

Connor D. Ryan // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 20.7 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 1.1 million (rank: #5)

#4. Nebraska

A wakeboard boat at a wooden dock in the Muskokas.

Adam Melnyk // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 28.8 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 566,000 (rank: #15)

#3. New Hampshire

Yachts docked at Marina in fall in Back Bay.

Wangkun Jia // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 29.0 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 405,000 (rank: #27)

#2. Maine

Fishing boats docked in Perkins Cove.

haveseen // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 31.5 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 436,000 (rank: #25)

#1. Washington D.C.

Boats docked at a jutting pier at the Southwest Waterfront.

RaksyBH // Shutterstock

- Concentration of boats: 36.2 registered boats per 100 residents
- Number of boats: 243,000 (rank: #37)

Data reporting by Paxtyn Merten. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.

This story originally appeared on GetMyBoat and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

Comments