Recreational Boat Sales

Washington Sea Grant has been tracking boat sales using the Department of Licensing (DoL) titling data since 2002. The data include information about the characteristics of all powered vessels and sailboats whose titles have been recently issued or transferred. State officials use this information to: 

In 2017, the Department of Licensing updated to a new data processing system.  Consequently, the vessel characteristics reported to DoL are not directly comparable with those reported under their legacy system. A comparison of legacy and DRIVES vessel descriptors (pdf) is available for download. For data older than 2017, please see the Washington Boat Sales Data Archive page

A word about how we classify vessel transactions 

The data provided from DoL can be unambiguous such as model year, boat length, hull material, etc. Some values are entered into the database when the vessel was first registered and revised when the current transaction occurred. From these data, we derive further information about the kind of sale that appears in the Boat Sales Activity table. For the most part, these derived data are also unambiguous. However, whether a vessel being registered for the first time in Washington State and sold by a dealer is classified as a New Vessel sale or an Imported Used sale is very sensitive to the cut-off year chosen to define a “new” vessel. The decision rule uses the prior model year; vessels older than that are considered used, and must, therefore, have been imported from out-of-state by the dealer. However, there may be boats in dealers’ showrooms and yacht brokers moorages built earlier than the prior year but have not sold. When they do sell, they will have been misclassified as an Imported Used sale. We have no way of ascertaining, a priori, which classification is correct.


New Import: a new boat purchased from an out-of-state dealer.
New Dealer: a new boat purchased from a WA dealer.
Used Dealer Import: a used boat purchased from an out-of-state dealer.
Used Import: a used boat purchased from an out-of-state private seller.
Used Dealer: a used boat purchased from a WA dealer.
Used Private: a used boat purchased from a WA private seller.
In-Migrant: a new WA resident registers a boat brought into WA.

Moorage data tells us when and where recreational boats are being moored across the state. It helps to identify where additional moorage facilities and support services might be required.