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Project Status: complete

Title: Recreational boating activity trends in California 1995-2020.

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Potepan, Michael J

Contractor: San Francisco State University

Contract Number: 95-721

Research Program Area: Emissions Monitoring & Control

Topic Areas: Mobile Sources & Fuels


This study presents empirical evidence strongly suggesting that recreational boat owners in California use their boats in different counties from where they are registered, and that boating activity will grow more slowly in future years due to potential overcrowding on waterways and at boating facilities. Both findings have important air quality management implications. Typically, boat owners register their boats where they live, and most boat owner live in highly populated urban counties. However, evidence is presented that suggests boat owners tend to use their boats in less populated counties. Boat registration is projected to rise substantially in California over the next 25 years. Evidence is presented to suggest that the boating activity accompanying this registration growth will continue to take place in less populated counties. Since neither the waterways nor the facilities used by recreactional boat owner are likely to grow as much, this is likely to produce overcrowding on waterways and at boating facilities. This study presents strong empirical evidence suggesting that boat owners surveyed for this study responded that they would reduce their boating activity. For instance, boat owners surveyed for this study responded that they would reduce their boating activity an average of 31.35% if the waterways they had used in 1996 were twice as crowded. Further, forecasts presented in this study estimate that boating activity could grow by as little as 16% over the next 25 years in light of the increase in overcrowding at existing waterways and boating facilities. This contrasts with forecasts of around 80% growth in statewide boat registration.


For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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