Boating is Big Business in Alabama

Recreational boating is one of the most popular forms of family recreation nationwide, with more than 72 million Americans participating in boating activities. Alabama is no exception to the national trend. Averaging about one boat per 17 persons, over a million households in the state possess some form of watercraft.

Boat-related retail sales in 2002 totaled more than $30 billion in the United States. Alabama’s boating expenditures ranked 17th in the nation, with over $228 million spent at retail outlets for new and used boats, motors and engines, trailers, accessories and other associated costs.

Most boat owners started boating in their early teens, with about two-thirds of them introduced to boating by their parents, other family members, or friends. Boats with outboard motors are the most numerous power-craft, while kayaks hold the lead for muscle-powered boats.

With Alabama’s 1,673 square miles of inland water and 607 miles of tidal shoreline, it’s no surprise that the state is home to over 262,000 registered boats and 506,000 licensed boat operators. The high percentage of boaters compared to the state’s population makes boating a viable factor in the local economy.

 Statistics from the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation indicate a growing market for boats, motors, trailers, and accessories, as more people share their enjoyment of water-related recreation.

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