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What's Up Magazine

Power or Sail?

Jul 03, 2013 11:07PM ● By Anonymous

For the record, Anne Arundel County has the highest number of registered boats of any other county. Given that Annapolis is considered the “Sailing Capital of the World”—even if only locally—the area surely boasts better sailboat numbers than 6.65 percent, right? The truth is, it’s quite difficult to get an accurate representation of the sail versus power boat numbers from our Department of Natural Resources office, and here’s why:

• Vehicles that are federally documented (with the Coast Guard, which many boats—particularly larger, ocean racing/cruising sailboat—are) need not obtain a title in Maryland. (They do still have to pay the excise tax and display a “Maryland Use” decal.) As of January 2012, there were more than 1,500 federally documented boats (sail and power) whose owner’s listed Maryland residence. While they are “documented,” they’re not registered in Maryland, which means they’re left out of most reports.

• Boats purchased and primarily used in other states (not used in Maryland more than 90 days) need not be titled in Maryland, eliminating many boats owned by those with second homes in the state.

• Boats that do not have a motor or “mechanical propulsion,” need not be registered—regardless of their size. This fun fact is what we believe leads to the biggest misrepresentation regarding statistics for the sail vs. power—which is more popular?—debate. With motorless vessels not accounted for, the following classes are left out of the statistic, and in some cases, they include entire fleets here in Annapolis: 420s, Optis, Lasers, V15, Solings, Etchells, J22s, 505, Daysailors, Jet14s.

That’s a large number of sailboats that are unaccounted for in what seems like the most obvious statistic!