Press Release

U.S. Recreational Boating Industry Announces Top Boating States
Discover Boating names hotspots for getting on the water this summer
CHICAGO (June 19, 2013) – Leading into Fourth of July weekend, the most popular boating holiday of the year, the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) released data showing recreational boating provides vast economic value for the nation – more than $121.5 billion. As the popularity of boating reaches peak season across the country, Discover Boating named on-water hot spots in the top ten boating states ranked by total economic value.
“Boating is a popular pastime for more than 88 million Americans and integral to many states’ economies,” says Ellen Hopkins, Discover Boating vice president and Chicago boater. “Discover Boating helps people get on the water to enjoy the boating lifestyle and the on-water locales we’ve identified are great examples of the beautiful waterways to explore by boat in the U.S.”
Here are the top boating states, ranked by total economic value in 2012, including popular destinations for on-water getaways from
  1. Florida ($10.3 billion) 
    Hot Spot: Palm Beach – The Palm Beach area offers boaters endless opportunities to explore South Florida from cruising the Intracoastal Waterway and breezing across the Florida Everglades to heading through an inlet for watersports on the Atlantic. Visitors can rent a vessel or charter a boat easily through the numerous local marinas. 
  2. California ($8.9 billion) 
    Hot Spot: Carlsbad – Just 30 minutes north of San Diego lies Carlsbad, where the expansive beaches and warm climate provide the perfect setting for a boating getaway. Much like a small lake, boating in Carlsbad offers calm waters perfect for waterskiing in the beautiful lagoon. The area offers easy rental options for everything from wakeboarding boats to personal watercraft.  
  3. Michigan ($7.4 billion)
    Hot Spot: Harbor Springs – In a sheltered area on the northern shore of Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan is the resort community of Harbor Springs. Boaters flock here in the summer for the clear water and picturesque views, specifically around the Fourth of July, to catch the bay’s famous fireworks display from the water.
  4. Texas ($5.9 billion) 
    Hot Spot: Austin  ?   Lake Austin, part of the seven Highland Lakes that stretch 85 miles northwest of the city, is regarded as a top outdoor destination in the area. The reservoir is formed by a dam on the Colorado River and beyond its recreational boating popularity with ideal conditions for watersports, it also attracts area anglers with its variety of fish, including large-mouth bass. 
  5. New York ($5.7 billion)
    Hot Spot: Lake George – Just a three-hour drive from Manhattan, it’s an easy trip with scenic views of the Adirondack Mountains.  Thomas Jefferson described Lake George in 1791 as the most beautiful water he had ever seen. It’s a boater’s paradise and convenient for dock-and-dine options, with many lakeside restaurants offering boat slips for their patrons.  
  6. Minnesota ($5.4 billion) 
    Hot Spot: Otter Tail County – In the land of 10,000 lakes, Otter Tail County contains 1,048 of them— the most within a single county in the U.S. Just two hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul, the area provides optimal conditions for fishing, swimming, sailing, waterskiing and simply relaxing on the water.
  7. Wisconsin ($4.7 billion)
    Hot Spot: Fish Creek – Where Green Bay meets Lake Michigan lies Wisconsin’s 75-mile Door County peninsula.  With 250 miles of shoreline, 40 near-shore islands, 10 historic lighthouses, and five state parks (most with boat ramps), Fish Creek offers boaters an array of sightseeing opportunities. Local marinas have easy rental options and scenic charters, raft and boat tours. 
  8. North Carolina ($4.1 billion)
    Hot Spot: Morehead City – The coast of North Carolina draws boaters from around the world for its treasure trove of diving and big game fishing. Morehead City in the Outer Banks gives visitors access to beautifully clean, clear ocean water. The area’s warm Gulf Stream waters give anglers access to a plethora of seasonal fish. 
  9. Illinois ($3.9 billion)
    Hot Spot: Chicago –Along Chicago’s 14-mile lakeshore more than 5,000 boats dock across the city’s 10 harbors, which make up the nation’s largest municipal harbor system.  Chicago boaters flock to the “Playpen,” a well-known boating locale offering city views and calm waters to drop anchor. It’s easy to climb aboard with rental, charter and leasing options, educational river tours, sunset cruises and more. 
  10. South Carolina ($3.7 billion) 
    Hot Spot: Hilton Head – A sunset view from the water in Hilton Head is not to be missed. The area attracts s more than 2.5 million visitors each year to its Gulf stream-warmed waters and mild weather. Watersports, fishing, cruising and sailing are all popular pastimes in this coastal community.
For more information on boating destinations, the economic value of boating by state and how to get started in boating, visit
About Discover Boating: Discover Boating is a national awareness campaign developed by the North American recreational boating industry. Discover Boating programs focus on improving the boating experience and building interest in recreational boating by providing a resource for Americans to explore the benefits, affordability and accessibility of the boating lifestyle. To find out more, visit   
Contact: Kelly Kaylor 312.946.6262