Recreational Boating - Statistics & Facts

Recreational Boating - Statistics & Facts

Statistics and facts on Recreational Boating

Recreational boating is a popular leisure activity in the U.S. More than 88 million U.S. adults participated in recreational boating in 2013, using a boat for (sports) activities such as fishing and water skiing and/or to travel.


The U.S. recreational boating market had an estimated retail value of almost 37 billion U.S. dollars in 2013. Sales of new recreational boats amounted to just over six billion U.S. dollars. Retail sales of pre-owned recreational boats had a value of about 8.85 billion U.S. dollars.

In total, 11.99 million recreational boating vessels were registered in the U.S. in 2013. These boats are classified into several categories: sailboats, personal watercrafts, sterndrive boats, inboard boats and outboard boats.

The number of new boats sold has declined sharply since 2006. While in 2006 more than 900 thousand new boats were sold, this number amounted to about 517 thousand in 2010. In the following years the number of new boats sold has kept steady at around the level of 2010. Sales of pre-owned boats have remained relatively stable over that period (1,004 thousand in 2006 / 955 thousand in 2013). Although the sales volumes have declined the average sales price of several boat types has increased. Among those boat categories are, for example, sterndrive boats, ski/wakeboard boats and inboard boats (cruisers).

The majority (46.5%) of U.S. boat owners spend under 500 U.S. dollars on boating per year. These expenses include fuel, finance payments, accessories, maintenance, repair and upgrades. The most popular boating activities include fishing from a boat, cruising, socializing while on a boating trip and swimming/diving from a boat. Most often boaters are accompanied by friends (61.1%), their spouse (54.2%) and/or their children (44.9%).
Picture: freeimages.com / mzacha

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Facts on Recreational Boating
Boats in Use & Participation in BoatingValuesStatistic
Number of U.S. adults participating in recreational boating88.5 m Details →
Average annual boating days by kayak/canoe11.2 Details →
Number of people who went powerboating in Autumn 201213.32 m Details →
Number of registered recreational boating vessels in the U.S. 11.99 m
Boating Market in the U.S. ValuesStatistic
Number of boat services business related to recreational boating24445 Details →
Total number of jobs in the boat services sector of recreational boating164338 Details →
Total retail volume of the recreational boating market in the U.S. 36.74 bn US$ Details →
Total volume of new recreational boat sales in 20137.55 bn US$ Details →
Total volume of pre-owned recreational boat sales in 201310.1 bn US$ Details →
Retail market value of sailboat sales in the U.S. 256 m US$ Details →
Number of Boats Sold in the U.S. ValuesStatistic
Total units of new recreational boats sold in the U.S. 532,170 Details →
Total units sold of pre-owned recreational boats955,000 Details →
Total number of sterndrive boats sold in the U.S. 15,100 Details →
The Boating Consumer in the U.S. ValuesStatistic
Number of people living in households that own a powerboat in Autumn 20128.66 m Details →
Percentage of people spending over $5,000 on boating per year18.3% Details →
Percentage of people going out on the water in kayak/canoe/row boat26.6% Details →
Percentage of people accompanied by friends on boating trips61.1% Details →
Boating Accidents in the U.S. ValuesStatistic
Total damages caused by recreational boating accidents39.18 m US$ Details →
Number of recreational boating accidents in the U.S. 4062 Details →
Number of recreational boating accidents caused by operator inattention567 Details →
Number of open motorboats involved in recreational boating accidents2435 Details →
Number of deaths directly linked to boating accidents560 Details →
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