We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Are the plains of North Dakota secretly peppered with boats?

Believe it or not, this landlocked state has a flotilla of its own. Let’s navigate the numbers and make waves with some surprising stats.

Get ready to embark on a boating adventure in the Peace Garden State.

  • High Per Capita Boat Ownership: North Dakota has 74.196 boats and yachts per 1,000 people, contributing 0.490% to the total U.S. recreational boat registrations, indicating a strong participation in boating despite its small population and shorter season.
  • Cultural and Geographic Influence: The state’s abundant lakes and rivers, notably Lake Sakakawea, support a strong boating culture, with activities like fishing, water skiing, and leisure cruising being integral to residents’ outdoor lifestyles.
  • Economic and Environmental Initiatives: Boating contributes to North Dakota’s local economies by enhancing community well-being and promoting tourism. Efforts to educate boaters on environmentally sustainable practices highlight the state’s commitment to preserving its waterways for future generations.

How Many People Own Boats in the United States?

In the USA, boat ownership transcends mere leisure; it embodies the nation’s deep-seated passion for aquatic endeavors.

There are 17 million recreational boats and yachts in the United States, comprising 13 million registered and 4 million unregistered vessels.

This impressive figure not only illuminates America’s enduring love for the water but also underscores the significant contribution of boating to recreational and economic sectors nationwide.

How Many People Own Boats in North Dakota?

In the sparsely populated state of North Dakota, there are an impressive 74.196 boats and yachts per 1,000 people, representing 0.490% of total recreational boat and yacht registrations in the US.

Despite its northern location and shorter boating season, North Dakota showcases a vibrant culture of water enthusiasts deeply woven into the state’s recreational life.

Why Are There Many Boats in North Dakota?

North Dakota’s many lakes and rivers, including the vast Lake Sakakawea, beckon a thriving boating culture.

Residents indulge in fishing, water skiing, and leisure cruising, turning to boating as a cherished respite from life’s bustle.

The boating affinity is underpinned by a robust community fabric that cherishes outdoor traditions and the enduring legacies

Economic and Environmental Impact

While not traditionally known for its boating industry, North Dakota’s rivers and lakes offer unique boating experiences that contribute to local economies and community well-being.

The state promotes environmentally friendly boating practices, aiming to protect its waterways for future generations.

Education on the impact of boating on local ecosystems is a key focus, ensuring that boating activities do not detract from the natural beauty of the state.

Getting Young People Involved

North Dakota’s approach to engaging young people in boating includes offering programs that combine outdoor education with environmental stewardship.

By fostering a connection with nature, the state aims to inspire a lifelong passion for boating and conservation among its youth.


Which state has the most boats in the United States?

Florida has the most registered boats in the United States, benefiting from its extensive coastline and year-round boating climate. The state offers numerous waterways conducive to boating activities.

Which state has the most yachts in the United States?

Florida also leads in the number of yachts, attributed to its luxurious coastal lifestyle and favorable boating conditions. Its world-class marinas and boat shows are magnets for yacht owners.

Is boating popular in North Dakota?

Boating in North Dakota is less popular due to its climate and geography, but it still has enthusiasts who enjoy its lakes and rivers during the warmer months. Limited access and shorter boating seasons contribute to its lower popularity.

Source: uscgboating.org & census.gov.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments