MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We may have gotten a late start to the boating season this year, but that isn’t slowing us down.
From fishing to water skiing — to just cruising on the lake, Minnesota has a special relationship with boats. So, how many Minnesotans have them? Good Question.
Kenny Chesney calls them vessels of freedom, harbors of healing. We sure do love them here in Minnesota. In fact, the Department of Natural Resources says we had 818,000 registered in 2016. That’s down from our peak in 2008, right before the recession hit. We’re around where we were in 2000.
Look at this another way: One out of every six Minnesotans has a boat. Go towards Brainerd or Grand Rapids or north of Duluth — you’re talking one out of every three.
Which puts our great land of 10,000 Lakes at No. 2 in the country. We’re behind Florida, but ahead of Michigan, California and Wisconsin at No. 5.
The vast majority are motorboats, but 15 percent are pontoons, eight percent are jet skis and one percent are canoes. The boat dealers will tell you the people that are buying want bigger, more expensive boats with ample space to entertain. And the popularity of the pontoon has skyrocketed.
So, it follows my theory. You don’t need a boat — what you need is a friend with a boat.
There is one big change to boating laws that starts this season. Any boat with an enclosed area — like a galley or sleeping area or toilet — must have a carbon monoxide detector. Minnesota is the first in the nation with this type of law.