Right on schedule, the 2023 Clark Lake Boat Count took place yesterday morning.  The Count takes place on July 4th under the theory if a boat is going to be used for the season, it will be available for the count by then.  Bright and early at 6 am, the count began.

The Boat Count was under the command of Terry Scott with two working groups.  On the command raft, Terry piloted, Tom Bules was the scribe, and Rick Belcher (not pictured), the barker.  Simultaneously, Josie and Frank Hones counted the boats from Mud Point to the spot where Lakeview West meets Eagle Point Road.  Because of shallow water, they counted from a canoe.

In this photo, Josie is handing Terry the results of the count in the shallows.

After tabulating, what did the count reveal?

  • Based on July 4th boat traffic, it’s hard to believe the total number of boats at Clark Lake is down 11% from last year.  However, one need only watch the west end boat ramp to understand the seeming contradiction.  The 2017 boat count recorded the record-breaking number.
  • Rafts are still the 800 pound gorilla, dominating the lake.  Their total of 656 last year broke the record.  They were down 6% to 616 this year.  One trend is clear – new rafts continue to be more glamorous.
  • The number of inboards dropped 14%, but IO’s gained 17%.
  • Total power boats were down 8%, but people-power lost more, down 21%.
  • Total boats per household went from 3.4 to 2.9.
  • Total boats at the clubs gained, especially at the Beach Bar, now at 94.  Beach and Boat Club also gained, although some of that was due to a change in methodology (see note below chart).
  • 29% of all boats are at one of the clubs.

Has the number of boats at Clark Lake reached a peak?  One year doesn’t make a trend.  If it did point to fewer boats, some might consider it a blessing.


At the Yacht Club, some sailors keep their boats on trailers rather than docked.  So, boats on trailers with current MC stickers are included because these boats are likely to be put in the lake during the summer.  The same applies to the Beach and Boat Club, where there is a wait list for slips.

The July 4th sunrise cast a glow on the Yacht Club docks.

An interesting boat at the Yacht Club

Thanks to AOS for the Official Count sign.