The Coast Guard has released its most recent national recreational boating survey, which examines data to help prevent boating accidents and assess the economic impact of boating by region.
The study found that about 29 percent, or 34.2 million, of the estimated 116.7 million U.S. households had at least one member who was on a boat, canoe or kayak in 2011. Because many people don’t include kayaks and canoes under the boating umbrella, the survey asked the question specifically in order to capture all people who spent time on the water in a recreational vessel.
More than a third, or 12 million, of all boating households in the United States were in the South. The household boating participation rate was highest in the Midwest, at 34.6 percent. The Midwest also had the highest percentage, 17.4 percent, of households with at least one person who fished from a boat.
The Northeast had the highest percentage of households with one or more people who canoed or kayaked in 2011, at 14.7 percent. Canoeing and kayaking were especially popular in Maine, where 31.8 percent of households had at least one member who had kayaked or canoed, and New Hampshire, which had 31 percent.
California (3 million) and Florida (2.5 million) had the highest numbers of households participating in boating, and Alaska (53.2 percent) and Minnesota (50.7 percent) had the highest overall percentage of boating households.
The study also breaks out the participation of children and gender by region, as well as rates of ownership and boat types by region.