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The Boat Parade Is Over: Donald Trump Lost 4 of the Top 5 States for Boat Ownership

And Biden won every boating hot spot in Florida, too.

A Trump boat parade in Pennsylvania in September Paul Weaver

Ask Donald Trump how boaters feel about him and he’d likely tell you they love him, pointing to all the boat parades held in his honor ahead of the 2020 general election. It might be that other people in the communities where those boats are docked don’t seem to share those feelings.

While votes are still being counted across the nation, Trump appears to have lost four of the top five states for boat ownership, something Politico magazine contributing editor Bill Scher pointed out on Friday. Although Trump won Florida, the state with the most registered boats, the rest of the top five—Minnesota, Michigan, California and Wisconsin—all voted in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden.

To be clear, we’re not saying, of course, that boatowners themselves disapprove of the president. But what we can say is that the anecdotal enthusiasm boatowners have shown Trump hasn’t spilled over to other voters in their areas, according to the vote totals coming out of those states (as provided by The New York Times).

Based on 2018 data from National Marine Manufacturers Association, the top five boat-owning states are Florida (925,141 registered boats), Minnesota (819,317), Michigan (795,374), California (670,102) and Wisconsin (614,750). Of those states, only Florida went for Trump with 51.2 percent of the vote, while Minnesota (52.5 percent for Biden), Michigan (50.5 percent), California (65.1 percent) and Wisconsin (49.4 percent) all cast more votes for his rival.

A pro-Trump boat parade in Tennessee in September

A pro-Trump boat parade in Tennessee in September  Earl Neikirk/AP Images


Interestingly, while Florida, as a whole, went for Trump, areas known as boating hot spots did not. The former vice president easily won Broward County, where Fort Lauderdale is located, and Miami-Dade County; Biden also squeaked out closer victories in Hillsborough (Tampa) and Pinellas Counties (St. Petersburg). Less surprising were Trump’s losses in the four coastal areas where boating is biggest in California: Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange Counties.

There was a moment during the summer of 2020 when the Trump boat parade, in which dozens and sometimes hundreds of boats draped in campaign paraphernalia would travel around showing their support for the president, became a big thing. And as the president was quick to point out, they were held all over the country, most notably in Florida, but also in states like Maryland, New York and Oregon. The most infamous of these parades may have been one held on Lake Travis in central Texas in early September, where authorities had to be called in to rescue several attendees after at least five boats sank.

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