For many years, there has persisted a common belief among residents of Pittsburgh and/or Allegheny County concerning the number of registered pleasure boats in the region and how it ranks with the other areas with high concentrations of pleasure boat registrations such as certain counties in Florida. Attempting to verify or dispute this claim is complicated by the fact that the specifics of the claim tend to vary depending on the source.   Often it is expressed as "Allegheny County has the second highest number of registered boats in the U.S. after Dade County in Florida." Sometimes, it's "Allegheny County has the second highest number of boats per capita in the U.S. after Dade County in Florida." The claim also appears in the form of "Pittsburgh has more registered boats per capita than any other city in the U.S." The difficulty with this last one is that boat registrations are usually state-regulated, and the state commissions in charge of boat registrations tend to tabulate them at the county level, not at the municipal level.

Like many modern myths and urban legends, this claim is usually perpetuated by word-of-mouth without any fact-checking.  In print, it is never accompanied by a citation or source for the claim.

The population of Allegheny County in 2009 was 1,218,494.  The number of registered pleasure boats in Allegheny County in 2009 was 24,243, according to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.  This works out to 1 boat per 50.3 people in Allegheny County.

According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (the agency with whom boats are registered in Florida), there were 12 counties in Florida with more pleasure boats than Allegheny in 2009:

 FL County 2009 Population 2009 Boat Registrations 1 boat per X people
 Dade 2,500,625 60,505 41.3
 Pinellas    909,013 50,116 18.1
 Hillsborough 1,195,317 45,206 26.4
 Lee    586,908 44,933 13.1
 Broward 1,766,476 43,708 40.4
 Palm Beach 1,279,950 41,102 31.1
 Brevard    536,357 36,922 14.5
 Polk    583,403 31,639 18.4
 Duval    857,040 31,604 27.1
 Orange 1,086,480 31,598 34.4
 Volusia    495,890 29,507 16.8
 Pasco    471,709 24,676 19.1

Last updated: 5/24/2013 4:55:42 PM