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Michigan tops nation’s boating list

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has stripped California of a mantle it bestowed on it only last month as the No. 1 state in boat ownership.

A reporting error is being blamed. Now that things have been straightened out, Michigan returns to its long-held top position and California drops to third, one notch behind Florida.

NMMA uses figures supplied by the Coast Guard, which gets the information from the individual states. And for 2002 (the last year for which data is available) California over-reported.

California wasn’t alone. When the original NMMA release was distributed, officials in Wisconsin realized their numbers also were significantly inflated because personal watercraft had been counted twice.

According to the new data, Michigan had 1,000,337 boats registered in 2002 — the only state to top the million mark. Florida had 922,597 and California 896,090. Rounding out the top five are Minnesota, with 834,974, and Texas, 624,390.

The new numbers also affected NMMA’s regional registration figures. The Eastern North Central region (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) is still the number one region, but its total dropped from 2.7 million to 2.6 million, reflecting Wisconsin’s change.