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Boating's Health Reform
by Barb Hansen
September 2009

I didn't go to a town hall meeting but I would like to share a health reform idea with our elected representatives and the inside-the-beltway crowd.

What I will tell you has been pretty much boating's secret but it's time we told the rest of the world. Are you sitting down? 

Boaters are healthier.

A lot of people will doubt that assertion, I know. We have all known individual boaters who were not careful, such as those who venture out into rough seas or manage to get their fingers smashed between the boat and the dock.

But the non-boating world has its reckless types, too. Vic and I keep wondering why we have to pay the doctors and hospitals who try to save the life of the motorcycle rider without insurance and without a helmet who crashes while weaving in and out of traffic.

But, as a group, boaters report they are healthier than other Americans. The online survey of 542 boat owners and 536 non-boat owners was conducted by Impulse Research Corporation for the boating industry.

It turns out that boat owners rated their overall well-being, health, work, leisure, sleep and finances as “very good” or “excellent.” They also reported higher levels of satisfaction in marriage and romance than non-boaters. These are the kinds of people the insurance companies love.

Conversely, non-boaters told researchers they felt “useless, lonely, unhappy and fatigued.”  Oh my.  They must have polled some congressmen who lost control of their own town hall meetings.

Studies suggest that children of boaters are healthier, too. Another boating industry survey showed that kids who boat were healthier physically and psychologically. They were more outgoing, more optimistic, more self-confident, more likely to be team players, more likely to be peer group leaders, and more likely to keep their pants hitched up.

Okay, I just made up the part about the pants.

Anyway, the research also showed that boating kids were more likely to do household chores and help with cooking. They have more interests. They regularly participate in eight activities while non-boating kids averaged only four. Another family bonus: boating children spent more quality time with parents, even in non-boating months.

So, to my point. I know how Congress can make Americans healthier. Give every person a boat.

Yes. In place of a health care bill that few have read and nobody can understand, how about a simple boat voucher program that puts Americans on the road (water?) to good health.

The program will probably save money, too, not that money is a consideration in DC. (Or, if it is, they could just call it a stimulus. I'm sure they will stipulate a new marina on the Potomac, just for the people's elected representatives, don't you know.)

Boat vouchers will be better than cash for clunkers, cash for appliances, cash for coiffures. Americans will feel great, there will be fewer cars on the road, boat dealers can stay in business, and there will be no need to pull the plug on grandma.

A whole country full of happy boating people is everything our congresspersons could hope for, particularly when they schedule town hall meetings.

 

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