Time to downsize from a small motorboat or a microskiff to a personal microskiff


U.S. boat registration has been declining in recent years. From a peak of 12,942,000 boats in 2005, the number went down to 12,102,000 in 2012 – a 7% decline.

USCG stats - annual boat registration

This figure is intriguing for a number of reasons, and the first one is that during this period, the US population increased by a similar percentage. In addition, regardless of their country of origin, new immigrants love boating and fishing as much as other Americans love these activities, and those who can afford it get a boat, be it a yacht or a kayak, depending on their budget.

What has caused the decline in the number of leisure boats Americans own is a continuing erosion in average, middle-class Americans’ income, especially their disposable income, which is the part used for spending on luxury items such as boats – Just for the record, the number of leisure boats owned by Americans still tops the number of leisure boats owned by all other people in the world.

The typical boat here is a motorboat, usually powered by an outboard motor (or more than one motor), and typically used for fishing. Owning such a boat is no longer as easy as it used to be if you’re not rich, which most of us aren’t.

But not being able to afford a center console or a bass boat, or even a skiff, doesn’t mean you should start fishing from shore, or worse – stick yourself on one of those wet, unstable and uncomfortable fishing kayaks that may altogether dissuade you from fishing… For a fraction of the cost of a traditional motorboat, you can fish out of a comfortable, stable, dry and fun watercraft that has the word ‘kayak’ in its name, and can even be paddled, but in every other sense it’s a totally different animal – We’re talking about the W kayak, outfitted with a small outboard gas engine.