Article Posted: January 17, 2000

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The number of boats registered in Pennsylvania reached a record high in 1999. The 351,779 watercraft registered by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission topped the 1998 total of 348,352 by 3,427 registrations.

Allegheny County continued to lead the state with the highest number of registered boats. However, the 29,194 watercraft registered in the county for 1999 dropped slightly from the high of 29,955 set in 1996. Coming in second to Allegheny was Bucks County with 16,473 registrations. York County captured the third place finish with 13,181.

The overall growth in 1999 follows a trend of increasing registrations within the state. Watercraft registrations over the last decade have surged by more than 73,000 from 1989's year-end total of 278,647.

Much of the expansion can be attributed to the recent popularity of specialty boats known as Personal Watercraft (PWC). The registration of PWC, known by trade names like Jet SkiŽ, Sea DooŽ, Wave RunnerŽ and BombardierŽ, rose roughly 770% from 3,225 PWC in 1989 to the current 24,988. While PWC accounted for just 1.2% of the total boats registered in 1989, today they make up a full 7.1%.

While the entire state has seen an increase in watercraft, southeastern Pennsylvania has experienced the greatest jump. Lancaster County accumulated an additional 4,441 registrations since 1989. Bucks County added 4,009 more watercraft over the same time period. In addition, York County (+3,508), Chester County (+2,729), Montgomery County (+2,537), and Lehigh County (+2,405) have all added significant numbers.

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