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DBW Releases Non-Motorized Boating Report
Fastest Growing Segment of the Recreational Boating Community

Contact:  Gloria Sandoval (916) 651-5692
cell (916) 715-1657

September 21, 2009

SACRAMENTO – Non-motorized boating has skyrocketed in California and is now the fastest growing segment of recreational boating in the state according to a report released today. Non-Motorized Boating in California, initiated by the Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) to help address the lack of information about the demographic, shows that non-motorized boating contributed $1.7 billion to California's economy in 2006.

“This report tells us that the popularity of non-motorized boating is on the upswing and that we can expect thousands of new boaters to enjoy the waterways in the coming years,” said DBW Director Raynor Tsuneyoshi.  ”Kayaking, canoeing and rafting are great ways to enjoy California’s beautiful waterways, and this report will serve as an important planning tool for meeting boaters’ needs.”

The report, the first in depth study of non-motorized boating in the United States, provides information on all aspects of non-motorized boating, including the numbers and types of boats and participants, and the economic importance to the state.  The report was conducted over a twelve month period during 2006 and 2007.  Key findings include:

  • An estimated 2.5 million Californians participate in non-motorized boating, generating more than 48 million non-motorized boater user days.
  • About 1.7 million rafts, canoes and inflatable boats are now being enjoyed on California’s waterways; this number is expected to continue to grow rapidly.
  • Kayaks are the most common type of boat, followed by inflatable boats.

Research included in the report suggests that non-motorized activity has grown in recent years because it is relatively inexpensive.  Growth can also be attributed to continued new participation among baby boomers as they near and enter retirement.

Prior studies have reviewed particular aspects of non-motorized boating, such as national boating participation rates or boating safety, but never a broad assessment at the national level or in any other state. 

The Non-Motorized Boating in California report provides a new and better understanding of the social and economic benefits of non-motorized boating, and contains important information that organizations can utilize to mold policy and fiscal issues and improve boater safety and education, waterways management and public access.  DBW’s full report is available at http://www.dbw.ca.gov/Reports/N-M_Boating.aspx.


DBW enhances public access to California’s waterways and promotes on-the-water safety through programs funded by vessel registration fees, boating fuel tax dollars and boating facility construction loan payments.