Canadian Boating Statistics

Accident statistics: Marine Industry Statistics:
Canadian Child Drownings 2013
Canadian Boating Deaths 1991-2006    
U.S.A. Boating Statistics 2011
Drowning in Cold Water 2007
Ontario Drownings 2006
Great Lakes Accidents 1999-2004
Ontario Drownings 2002-03
Boating Deaths 2000
Water Fatalities 1990-1998
Boating Accidents 1995
Ontario Boating Fatalities 1980-1993
NMMA Statistics 2015
NMMA Statistics 2014
NMMA Statistics 2013
Boating Economic Impact 2012
NMMA Statistics 2012
NMMA Statistics 2010
Boating Economic Impact 2006
Industry Canada Stats 1999
Boat Industry Exports 1998
Boat Industry 1997
Boat Ownership 1994
Boat Ownership 1992-94

Canadian Boating Statistics 2015

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced new statistics for 2015. The Canadian recreational marine industry remains steady as sales increase in certain categories and boater participation rises. Some highlights from 2015:

“The decrease the industry saw in sales of new boat units in 2015 is estimated to largely be a result of the exchange rate, which currently favors Canadians buying recreational boats in the U.S.”, said Sara Anghel, executive director of NMMA Canada. [The value of the Canadian dollar plunged from $.85 to $.72 in US dollars in 2015 - less incentive to buy U.S. boats. - Pat]

Canadian Boating Statistics 2014

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced data from their Canadian Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract at the Toronto Boat Show January 2015.  Generally boating participation rates were up and sales were down from October 2013 through September 2014. Here are some highlights.

Canadian boaters:

Canadian Recreational Boats in 2013:

In 2013, value of exports and imports reached a five-year high totals of $419.7 million for boats and $890.6 million for engines. Import growth was up 6.5%. Export growth was up 3.3%, declining in all categories except inboard and “other” boats.

The number of boats exported declined in nearly every category in 2013, except inboard and “other” boats, which grew by less than 1%. Imports were up 0.5%.

Canadian Recreational Boats in 2014:

In 2014, new boat and engine sales were $2 billion, down 2.3%, while unit sales were down 7.2%. Most categories were down, but 3.9% more personal watercraft were sold.  New boat and engine sales declined in every provinces except British Columbia, up 3%. BC had 7.5% growth in new outboard engine sales. BC had 14.2% of all new boat and engine sales.

Pre-owned boat sales in Canada totaled 60,085 units, down 3.5% from 2013. All segments had fewer sales. Total sales value was $985.2 million, down 6.9%. The average pre-owned boat cost $2,533 to $110,194 depending on boat type.
Pre-owned boat sales in Alberta and Saskatchewan were up 3.3% and 3.5% respectively, with declines in other provinces.

Canadian Boating Industry contribution to the Economy

Canada's recreational boating industry continues to be a significant contributor to the Canadian economy, with $2 billion in sales from new boat and engines and $985.2 million in pre-owned boat sales during the period of the study.

Order a copy pf the Canadian Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract from nmma.ca 312-946-6261

Canadian Boating Statistics 2013

Highlights from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA Canadian Boating Statistical Abstract):

Canadian Drownings 2013

Boat industry adds $5 billion to Canada's Economy 2012

A new report from National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) finds Canada’s core recreational boating industry contributed an estimated economic impact of $5 billion, supports about 67,000 jobs, generating $2.6 billion in annual salaries and wages. The core recreational boating industry generated approximately $8.9 billion in total revenues, and contributed $774 million in taxes and subsidies to Canada’s economy in 2012. Included were manufacturers of boats and accessories, dealers, marinas, repair and maintenance shops, schools, boat clubs, and related companies. Industries such as fishing (sportsman activities and equipment), outfitters, and tourism were not included.

They also estimated there are 4.3 million boats in Canada. 35% of Canadians went boating last year. (Based on a published population of 35 million, that's over 12 million people!)

Reported by BoatingIndustry.com.

Canadian Boating Statistics 2012

A new report from National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) indicates that sales of recreational boats in Canada increased 13% in 2012 after several years of a slow economy. ($2 billion to Sep. 2012) Used boat sales rose 17% ($935 million). The biggest sellers were aluminum pontoon boats (23%) and sport jetboats (13%). Canadian boat makers exports rose 50% ($479 million) in 2011, the last year data was available.

In 2012, more than one in five Canadian households owned at least one recreational boat, while just over one third participated in boating. Ontario leads the way with 40% of residents participating in boating. The NMMA estimates there are 3 million recreational boats in Canada.

The survey explodes the myth that boating is the preserve of the rich. The average boater in Canada is from 31 to 49 years old, has children at home, and has a household income $44,000 to $99,000 a year. Boating is solidly a middle class activity.

Data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association using statistics from Statistics Canada and Transport Canada. Reported at TheStar.com

Canadian Boating Deaths 1991-2006

A recent Canadian Red Cross study covering 15 years of boating deaths in Canada (1991 to 2006) found that boating-related deaths have fallen to half what they were 20 years ago. The 2006 data suggests these figures are still falling. Of 2,232 people who drowned or died of hypothermia, only 12% were wearing a life jacket properly.

5-Year PeriodBoating Fatalities
1991 - 1996 873
1996 - 2000 718
2001 - 2005 555

The annual occurrence of all boating fatalities (drowning, hypothermia, trauma related to crashes) shows that the rate of water deaths in Canada has fallen from 0.84 per 100,000 population in 1991 to 0.45 per 100,000 in 2006, or roughly half. In other words, Canadians today are almost twice as safe on the water as they were two decades ago. You are more likely to drown in a bathtub than drown falling out of a boat.

Approximately 85% of boating deaths occur in Canada's fresh waterways, according to a 10-year study by the Canadian Red Cross published last year. According to the study, 393 recreational boaters drowned in B.C. between 1991 and 2006, accounting for 18% of all such deaths in Canada. Contributing factors in the deaths were lack of flotation devices, water temperature and drinking. 68% of drowning victims were not wearing a flotation device, and of those, 27% of motorboaters had life-vests on board but chose not to wear them, while 13% of people in nonmotorized boats died with their flotation devices stowed out of reach.

Canadian Recreational Boating Trend Reports show that between 1991-2008, boating accounted for an estimated total over 3000 fatalities in Canada, 86% of which occurred while participating in some form of recreational boating activity.

From: Vancouver Sun, Canadian Recreational Boating Trend Reports 1991-2008

U.S. Boating Statistics 2011

According to statistics from NOAA, nearly 79 million Americans — or 32% — will enjoy an outing by boat this year. There are about 12 million registered recreational vessels in the U.S., 50% more than 20 years ago. Although recreational boating deaths have decreased during the last 30 years, the number of accidents and injuries have steadily climbed.

Between 1991 and 2009, an average of 752 boaters died while on the water. In 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 4,730 accidents, 3,358 injuries, $36 million of damage and 738 deaths. Florida has the most boats and the most boating accidents and fatalities - 79 in 2010.

Wearing a life jacket - that one simple choice - could save as many as 84% of the boating fatalities who drowned.

In Florida, all children under 6 must wear a USCG approved Type I, II or III PFD while aboard a vessel under 26 feet. U.S. federal regulation mandates that beyond state waters (3 miles off Florida's Atlantic coast) each child aboard under 13 must wear a USCG-approved PFD. PWC riders and anyone being towed behind a vessel must wear an appropriate PFD. Every vessel must carry at least one USCG-approved Type I, II, III or V PFD for each person aboard.

From: www.tcpalm.com, noaa.gov

Canadian Boating Statistics 2010

2010 June : Canada has six million boaters prepare to go boating this summer, while some are trying to buy a boat. Two out of five boat shoppers (40%) are first-time buyers, according to research by Ipsos Reid. Boat buyers and sellers are part of a marine industry worth $26.8 billion in Canada. (National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Canada, 2010)

2009: According to Canadian government statistics, as many as nine million Canadians participate in recreational boating each year. About 200 of these will die in accidents on the water, with another 6,000 suffering non-fatal injuries.

Not having a life jacket will cost you $250 (each) if you’re stopped by a police marine patrol. Having one, but not wearing it, could cost you your life. Even though it's not mandatory for most boats, put it on! Every year, Canadians drown while boating, and many more die in other water-related accidents. Statistics show that nearly 90% of those who die aren't wearing a life-jacket - the most common risk factor for recreational boating drownings. Only 11% of drowning victims were wearing personal flotatation devices (PFDs).

Men are the primary drowning victims. Between 1991 and 2000, toddlers and males aged 15 to 24 had the highest drowning rates, followed by males over 24, according to the Red Cross. During that period, there was a 24% drop in the rate of boating drownings and a 29% decline in near-drownings.

Preventing Drowning in cold water - 2007

An article in the National Research Council journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism describes research by the Canadian Red Cross showing that 60% of those who survived cold-water emersions swam for shore or other dry sanctuary. Only 30% of survivors stayed with their craft.

The researchers claim that people wearing a lifejacket can swim in water temperatures of 10-23 degrees Celsius for 800 to 1,000 metres, or about 45 minutes, before their arms and legs stopped working from hypothermia. Also, staying calm the first few minutes helps thinking and breathing - and survival. The old advice of "stay with the boat" may not help you survive, unless you get rescued quickly. Read more at: Toronto Star, Jun27/07

Trying to put on a life-jacket after falling from a boat is like trying to put on a seatbelt while an auto accident is happening. (Shelley Dalke, Canadian Red Cross)

2007 Boating Accident Statistics

U.S. Coast Guard Boating Accident Statistics Visualized

Graphic courtesy of BoaterExam.com - Get Your Operator Card Online

Boating adds $26.8 billion to Canada's Economy - 2006

The Canadian Discover Boating program has released an Economic Impact Study of Recreational Boating in Canada 2006. Canada's recreational boating had a $26.8 billion impact on Canada's economy in 2006 - in jobs, sales, travel, repairs, taxes, tourism revenues and consumer spending. Canadian boaters spent C$15.6 billion on boat and engine sales, accessories and other boating expenses in 2006. The report also indicates 373,606 jobs and 10% of Canada's tourist dollars come from recreational boating. (Study by: Genesis Public Opinion Research Inc. with Smith/Gunther Associates)

[Canadian Boating Index - Marine Industry: Discover Boating, National Marine Manufacturers Association, International Boat Industry] Originally posted in Boating in Canada News Jan/2008

Ontario Drownings 2006

There are an average of 36 boating deaths in Ontario every year - 31% of these involve alcohol. The Canadian Medical Association says that alcohol is detected in two-thirds of boating-related drownings who are tested, and many are well above the legal limit for driving a boat.

Ontario Drownings 2002-03

The Canadian Red Cross says 500 Canadians drown each year. Children are vulnerable because they do not appreciate the danger. A study by Canadian Institute for Health Information [Canadian Boating Index] shows:

Drowning is the second leading cause of injury-related death of Canadian children up to 14 years of age, according to "Safe Kids Canada" [Canadian Boating Index: Organizations], an injury prevention program of the Hospital for Sick Children (2007). About 58 Canadian kids drown each year; 140 are hospitalized from near-drowning. Backyard pool drownings happened mostly in Quebec (47%) and Ontario (37%).

Great Lakes Boating Accidents 1999-2004

YearInicidentsDeaths Liquor OffencesBoats Checked
1999 56
20003844
2001 40 938
2002 40 1,175 37,161
20032227 1,167 49,961
2004(23)(29)

2003:   23 incidents to August involved: 14 outboards, 1 sailboat, 7 canoes and 1 kayak. Ontario Police checked 49,961 boats to ensure operators were licenced, the vessel had proper safety equipment, and operators were not impaired.

Boating Deaths 2000

Boating deaths in Canada have been decreasing. During 2000 (the most recent year for which national data are available), there were 147 boating fatalities - a new low. During 1996-2000, 888 people died in boating incidents, down by 17% from the previous five years (1991-1995).

Half of Canadian boating deaths occur on lakes (53%). Oceans (23%) and rivers/streams (22%) account for the balance.

 By region, one-quarter (28%) of Canadian boating fatalities occurred in Ontario during 1996-2000; 21% in British Columbia; 18% in Quebec; 17% in Atlantic Canada; 13% in the Prairie provinces; and 3% in the northern territories.

Powerboats are the most prevalent pleasure craft and account for more than half of all Canadian boating deaths. Small open powerboats under 5½ metres (18 feet) in length are more often involved than larger powerboats. Canoes are the second-most involved craft. The absolute number of personal watercraft fatalities is low. However the water-related death rate for PWCs, at 11 deaths a year per 100,000 boats, is higher than for powerboats at six deaths a year per 100,000 boats, and higher than unpowered craft (e.g. canoes, sailboats and rowboats) at 2 to 5 deaths a year per 100,000 boats.

From 1996 to 2000 in Canada, 85% of those who died boating were not wearing personal-flotation devices, and alcohol was involved in 38% of fatalities.

Source: The Lifesaving Society, national boating fatalities report

Although there are no Canadian statistics about safety training and boating fatalities, a U.S. Coast Guard investigation found that 47% of all boating deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had not taken a boat safety course.

Fast Facts:
Boating accounts for 1/3 of water-related deaths in Canada. 33% of victims were powerboating, 27% were sport fishing and 13% were canoeing. More than 90% of boating victims are male and 50% are 18 to 34 years old.

1999 Industry Canada Statistics

In 1999, there were about 250 boat manufacturers employing 6,000 people. Annual shipments were $925 million and $100 million for equipment. $580.6 million of the total was exported. (Canadian Dollars)

Canadians own two million recreational boats including 637,350 canoes, 148,500 sailboats, 349,650 rowboats, 823,200 outboards and 120,000 other boats of all sorts. Estimated expenditures on recreational boating in Canada, including storage, fuel, marina and club rental, membership fees, boats and accessories total $2.0 billion or 1.8% of total estimated world expenditures of $40.5 billion USD. [Government Directory: Industry Canada: Recreational Boat Industry]

Boat Industry Exports 1998

Canadian exports of motorboats (cabin cruisers, outboard and inboard/outboard boats) were valued at $187,75 million in 1998, making up 33% of the total boating exports. Aluminum outboard boats sold especially well because of new designs and innovative deck layouts.

Sailboat exports reached $16.5 million in 1998. Personal watercraft by Sea-Doo by Bombardier make up 55% of Canadian boating shipments and 61% of boating exports. Nearly 275 manufacturers exported $50 million worth of marine equipment and accessories, such as life jackets, electronics and hardware.

[Canadian Boating Index: Industry Canada: Recreational Boat Industry]

Boat Industry 1997

In 1997, the industry consisted of approximately 235 boat manufacturers and employed about 6,000 people. Annual shipments were $997.2 million for boats and $100 million for marine equipment and accessories. Of the total, $714.1 million was made up of boats export shipments, which gives the industry a trade surplus of $461.0 million.

Most companies are Canadian-owned. They vary from relatively modest operations to major internationally competitive companies with the resources and management skills to withstand competition from the leading brands.

The United States accounts for 89% of Canadian exports, followed by Western Europe with 3.4% and the rest of the world, primarily Japan and South America, with 7%.

[Canadian Boating Index: Industry Canada: Recreational Boat Industry]

Water Fatalities 1990-1998

Preventable water-related deaths by type of recreational activity.

Activity1990-1993 1994-1998
Swimming 86 81
Fishing 87 71
Powerboating 93 67
Partying N/A 35
Playing near water 44 35
Canoeing 30 30
Walking on or near water/ice 36 24
Playing/wading in water 30 19
Snowmobiling 22 19
Diving into water 13 14
Source: The Lifesaving Society

Boating Accidents 1995

  1. 85% of those who drowned from a boat were not wearing lifejackets or PFDs.

  2. 27% of boat drownings were caused at least in part by alchohol.
  3. Most accidents with boats involve people 25 to 40 years old.
  4. Many fisherman who drown were found without a lifejacket. The boat was usually 14 feet long and there was frequently a case of empties, suggesting that the fisheman may have been answering the call of nature, standing very close to the gunwale, when he fell in.
  5. More than 50,000 personal watercraft have been sold in Canada, an astonishing 25% of annual boat sales. It is feared that unless something in done, the percentage of accidents involving these craft may match their sales.

  6. Most boating accidents occur in craft less than 18 feet long. Luxury cruisers longer than 50 feet rarely run into anything.
  7. Canoes account for an astonishing 30% of boating fatalities in Canada.
  8. No recorded drownings have taken place involving paddleboats (unless a power boat ran into one).

  9. Drowning is the number one accident killer of children. 40% of children who drown were geing supervised at the time.
  10. Infants and childrencan lose consciousness in as little as 30 seconds after falling into the water.

PWC's have proportionally more accidents than other types of boats and the majority of deaths are caused by collisions. Deaths from other types of boats are mainly people drowning without a lifejacket.

A 1995 survey concluded that 90% of boating drownings in Canada occur in inclement weather. Check weather on the Internet by radio, TV, telephone, newspapers, VHF broadcasts!

It's never been shown that licenced operators improve safety or fatalities. [Education may be another matter. Besides, a boating course is a good winter project for the whole family.

Boat Ownership 1994

Percentage of households owning pleasure craft 1994

Ontario               719,710   41.3%
New Brunswick          33,505   19.0%
British Columbia      328,969   18.9%
Quebec                266,188   15.3%
Alberta               145,574    8.3%
Saskatchewan           73.326    4.2%
Manitoba               71.247    4.1%
Nova Scotia            66,010    3.8%
NewFoundland           35,584    2.0%
Prince Edward Island    4,187    0.2%

In 1994, Canada's most popular boat - a 17 to 19-foot outboard-powered family runabout - ranged between $11,000 - $18,000. The average aluminum fishing boat with outboard motor, personal watercraft, or day sailer were under $10,000. A trailer was about $1,200 more. (1994 Statistics from Industry Canada & the Canadian Marine Manufacturers Association)

Boat Ownership 1992-94

The number of households owning pleasure craft and the number of pleasure craft owned in Canada declined in 1994. According to estimates generated in its most recent Household Facilities and Equipment Survey (HFE), Statistics Canada reported that 1.3 million Canadian households owned 1.75 million recreational craft ranging from personal watercraft such as seadoos and sailboards to large yachts. These figures are down from the estimated 1.5 million households and 2 million craft* reported by the same survey in 1992. One in every eight Canadian households reported owning a recreational boat in 1994 compared to an estimated one in seven in 1992, according to the survey's results. Rental boats were not included in the survey.

Data from: "Stats Can Survey Estimates of Pleasure Boat Ownership in Canada 1994" [Government Directory: Industry Canada: Strategis])

Ontario Boating Fatalities 1969-1995

Source: the former Office of Recreational Boating
1980 to 1987 [1990 on: Royal Life Saving Society of Canada]

The average annual number of boating deaths in Ontario from 1969 to 1979 stood at 97. From 1980 to 1990 it dropped to 83, a significant drop.

  Year  Ontario boating fatalities
  1980         123
  1981          89
  1982          76
  1983          70
  1984          95
  1985         106
  1986          72
  1987          64

  Ontario Boating Fatalities:

  BOAT TYPE    90   91   92   93   94   95
  Powerboats   42   49   55   26
  Canoes       16   14   12    4
  Sailboats     7    3    2    2
  All Other     9    3    3    5          
  TOTALS       74   69   72   37   46   42

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