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Five Ways Boating is the Best Gift
b
y Barb Hansen
December  2006

A few years ago a single man took one of our liveaboard yacht courses all by himself.

The student and the instructor spent a day covering all the basics right up to anchoring for the night. The student did well. The day was done. But then he asked the instructor what he should do after anchoring and securing the boat. Our instructor asked him pointedly why did he want to cruise anyway unless he had somebody to enjoy it with. The man thought about this for some long, silent moments. Then he said, “I think I should think about being in a relationship.”

Yes! There’s something about boating that insists, practically and emotionally, that it be done in the company of others. Cruising, especially, is made for couples and families.  It’s a shared adventure. It’s all about teamwork and accomplishing something together. In my book, cruising together is the ultimate in quality time.

Relationship building is one of five reasons why I believe that boating is the best possible gift that families can give each other.  The gift is not the boat. Rather, the gift is commitment that couples and families make to boating and to each other. After that, you can look for a boat to buy or, like many, just decide to charter vessels for cruises.

When you take up boating, you will discover that you have been adopted by another family, the nautical family. In case you didn’t know, we look after each other out there on the water. We wave to people we don’t know in passing boats; we rescue people we don’t know in stranded boats; we yuk it up with people we don’t know in adjacent slips.

The third reason that I believe boating is the perfect gift is that it balances your life.  It requires a different set of mental and physical skills. It removes you, mentally and physically, from whatever it is you do in the workaday world. And I’m convinced all that fresh air and exercise turns boaters into the best day nappers and solid night time sleepers in the world.

By the way, research sponsored by the boating industry suggests that boaters are happier and healthier than non-boaters. Almost seven out of ten say boating has brought their family closer together. And children exposed to boating are healthier, less shy, team players, and more likely to be leaders.

Everybody complains that they don’t have enough time. Well, when you’re hooked on it, boating motivates you to make time for it. I recently heard about a physician who wanted to go boating but he never had any time off.  Desire won. He closed his solo practice and went into practice with other doctors. The deal was they each would take extended time off periodically for cruising and other trips and the other physicians would look after missing doctor’s patients while he was gone. I think they’re all better people because of that decision. Especially the boating doctor.

The last and maybe the best reason why boating is the perfect gift is that boating is your magic carpet back into the last frontier. It puts you back into an environment where the “road” will never be paved and where the natural world prevails. At night, the sounds are sounds of fish jumping or waves lapping, not 18-wheelers whining out there on the Interstate highway. Communing with nature may be a cliché but it is still uplifting.

If you’re already boating, plan more. If you’re not, talk about it with the people you love.
 

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Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W


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