Cuyahoga County has more boat registrations than any other county in Ohio. But it ranks second to last for boats per 1,000 residents. Only Franklin County, landlocked in the middle of the state, fares worse.

No. 1 for boat ownership, based on population? No surprise here. It’s Ottawa County, home to the summertime playground of Port Clinton, Catawba and Put-in-Bay.

No. 2 is Carroll County, home to 1,500-acre Atwood Lake. And 3 is Erie County, a large swath of lakeshore land that includes Kelleys Island.

RocktheLake analyzed Ohio Department of Natural Resources data with’s data analysis expert Rich Exner.

Cuyahoga County has the most boat registrations in Ohio. But not per capita. (Rich Exner, RocktheLake)

The department’s Division of Watercraft requires all boats to be registered, including kayaks, canoes and inflatable boats. Kite boards and stand-up paddleboards do not need to be registered.

The cost of registration depends on the length of your boat, how it is propelled, and which type of registration you are buying. You generally need proof of title for power boats, though not for paddlecraft.

RocktheLake has long wondered about the general lack of a boating culture in Cleveland and its suburbs, though. Cuyahoga County has nearly a dozen private marinas and yacht clubs, but only four free, public boat ramps along its 30 miles of Lake Erie shoreline. Maybe that’s why you don’t see trucks towing boats very often on the highways around Cleveland?

Leading counties  
Cuyahoga County 10,082
Lorain County 6,312
Ottawa County 5,291
Lucas County 4,234
Lake County 3,954
Erie County 3,743
Ashtabula County 2,069

All week long, RocktheLake is bringing you Ohio boating statistics. So check back tomorrow!

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