Boating Is a Big Deal in the U.S.

Published on October 9th, 2019

“I don’t know how to put this, but I’m kind of a big deal. People know me. I’m very important.” – Ron Burgundy, Anchorman

A September 20 report from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has reaffirmed that outdoor recreation activities are a significant driver of economic activity in the country, making up 2.2% ($247.2 billion) of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

When looking at “conventional” outdoor recreation activities, “boating/fishing” was the largest conventional activity for the nation as a whole at $20.9 billion in current dollar value added, surpassing RVing, motorcycling, hunting, and snow activities. Dollar value includes all economic contributions by marinas, boat dealers, repair shops, in-state boat manufacturers and additional impacts.

At the state level, the BEA report cited boating/fishing as the largest conventional activity in 29 states and the District of Columbia, led by Florida ($2.7 billion) and California ($1.8 billion). Adding to the report, BEA statistics show the top 5 states where outdoor recreation (as a whole) accounted for the largest percentage of total U.S. GDP are California, Florida, Illinois, Texas and New York.

“Clearly it’s time to give outdoor recreation, and in particular, recreational boating and fishing, its due,” said Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “This is no longer just about having fun outdoors. Having this data gives legislative bodies across the country the information and standing to ensure our interests are protected and nourished.”

Added Kennedy, “The next time a community needs money to repair or maintain a boat launch ramp, a new marina is proposed, or onerous legislation that could negatively affect boaters and anglers is being debated, the BEA report shows that supporting boating and fishing interests, as well as other outdoor activities, pays real dividends in local economies.”

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