ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — State officials announced Friday that Florida, known for its fresh and saltwater alike — and all the activities that come with them — surpassed 1 million registered recreational vessels.
It's further proof of Florida's title being the "Boating Capital of the World," according to a statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"Crossing the million mark just confirms what we always knew — Florida is the top state for boaters," Maj. Rob Beaton, the agency's boating and waterways section leader said in a statement. "And with more boats on the water, we want to spread the word about boating safety to both residents and visitors enjoying Florida’s year-round boating season."
That includes boaters having plenty of life jackets on board, operators maintaining 360-degree awareness and knowing the dangers and consequences of operating a boat while impaired, FWC said.
Florida led the nation in 2019 and 2020 with the most registered vessels — all motorboats and any non-motorized vessels greater than 16 feet in length, according to the Coast Guard. Last year, the state had 959,816 vessels registered, with Minnesota — the Land of 10,000 Lakes — placing second with 819,337 vessels registered and Michigan — the Great Lakes state — third with 785,993 vessels registered.
Coast Guard data also shows Florida ranked No. 1 with the most boating-related deaths in 2020 at 72. However, the state's fatality rate, a figure calculated by dividing the number of fatalities by the total vessel registration and then multiplied by a factor of 100,000, was outside the Top 10 states.
Miami-Dade County leads Florida with 74,622 vessels registered, with the Top 5 listed below:
- Miami Dade: 74,622
- Pinellas: 53,867
- Lee: 50,304
- Broward: 47,741
- Hillsborough: 41,495
People are encouraged to visit MyFWC.com/boating for a complete list of safety tips and other boating information, including a way to search for a boat ramp near you.