Study: New Yorkers really love boating

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Recreational boaters spent $2.4 billion in New York in 2003 — a figure that may be on the conservative side because it came in a year with unusually poor summer weather.

That’s the conclusion of a team of three Cornell University researchers, who conducted a study funded by New York Sea Grant. Findings are based on the results of questionnaires sent to a sampling of the state’s half-million registered boaters.

The team from Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources found that recreational boating had a statewide economic impact of $1.8 billion, accounted for some 18,700 jobs, and contributed $728 million to labor income.

Boaters put some $431 million into trip-related expenditures, such as launch fees, lodging, food and fuel, the study shows. Boat and equipment purchases, repair, insurance and annual fees to marinas and yacht clubs accounted for another $2 billion — $1.2 billion of that figure going toward boat purchases.

The research indicates that boating is a “key recreational industry in virtually all areas of New York,” Sea Grant said. It specifically mentions the marine waters, the Hudson River, Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain.