The Boating map depicts activity areas mapped through two separate, but related studies. Recreational Boating Density and Recreational Boater Routes result from the 2012 Northeast Recreational Boater Survey conducted by SeaPlan, the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC), states’ coastal agencies, marine trade associations composed of many private industry representatives, and the U.S. Coast Guard First District. Distance Sailing Races were characterized as part of the Northeast Coastal and Marine Recreational Use Characterization Study which was conducted by SeaPlan, the Surfrider Foundation, and Point 97 under the direction of the Northeast Regional Planning Body.

Data Considerations

Both a random and a supplemental sample of Northeast boaters plotted their boating routes throughout the 2012 boating season using an online mapping application. The density map is derived using only the random sample of survey participants and is intended to show the relative density of boating activity throughout the region using a scale from high (red) to low (green). Areas showing low or no activity does not necessarily mean they are not used for recreational purposes. According to the results of the survey, these areas are likely less trafficked than other areas.

Distance sailing race routes were mapped through a combination of online research, existing datasets such as the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (RI OSAMP), and industry expert data mapping and vetting. This dataset is believed to represent all known, and believed-to-be recurring offshore distance sailing races in the region, as defined by the scope of this study. This study defined a distance sailing race as an offshore race starting at one port and ending in another, or an offshore race which begins at a port, has a turning point at a single location, and ends at the same port. This dataset is not intended to capture the spatial footprint of buoy races, which typically take place closer to shore and whose courses include sailing around courses comprised of buoys or other navigational markers. The lines depicting these races are highly generalized to reflect an approximate route between the start and end locations, based on course instructions, information from industry experts, and data from race tracking software. There can be a large spread of boat routes associated with any one race and these lines are meant to depict a general midpoint of activity and as such, this dataset is intended to be depicted at a regional scale. Actual sailing routes vary depending on winds and other environmental conditions, meaning that races depicted on a large (i.e. zoomed-in) scale may not provide a precise depiction of the actual race activity.


These are final data products.

Support for Regional Ocean Planning

For information about how these data and maps were developed with stakeholder input and will be used to support regional ocean planning, please see the 2016 Northeast Ocean Plan at www.neoceanplanning.org.