State/National/WorldNews Briefs

USCG releases boating survey results, providing new boating data

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Coast Guard has released results from a 2018 survey about recreational boating activity in the U.S.

The National Recreational Boating Safety Survey of 2018, which was mailed to over a quarter-million Americans, produced scientific estimates about characteristics of recreational boaters, different types of recreational boats that are owned and operated, boating population sizes, and risk exposure, all in an effort to assist agencies and organizations meet nationwide best boating safety practices and standards, the Coast Guard said.

The survey data includes all types of on-water activity from canoes, kayaks, rafts and rowboats to sailboats, skulls, airboats, motorized boats and personal watercraft.

Notable findings include estimates that approximately 25.2 million boats were owned by 14.5 million households in 2018; 11.82 million boats were registered in the 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2018 and almost 13.4 million boats were owned in 2018 in the United States that were not required to be registered by the state where they were kept and operated; a total of 10.2 billion person hours of boating took place in 2018; boats in southern states are not, in general, operated more days, on average, than boats in northern states; about one-third of all boats and 32.8% of motorized boats that operated over 3 nautical miles from shore were equipped with  Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons while 83.2% of the motorized boats that were operated at least once were equipped with an emergency engine cutoff switch; and the risk of boating fatalities is six per 100 million person hours for all types of boats nationwide and five per 100 million person hours for motorized boating.

The survey was funded by two grants from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. It was completed by the nonprofit research institute RTI International and the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University.

The full results can be viewed at

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