Maybe you are one of those
people trying to keep your new year’s resolutions
for a healthier, happier life. In that spirit, I
would like to offer this valuable self-improvement
tip for living a longer, healthier, happier life:
Give the woman in your life expensive gifts.
Just kidding. Here’s the tip.
In case you missed the news,
we now have scientific research that shows boaters
are healthier and happier than non-boaters. How
about that! Boaters just doing what boaters do are
healthier and happier than people who run
marathons and eat tofu. That’s right. A survey of
more than 1,000 people by the Impulse Research
Corporation found that boaters “are healthier and
happier than their non-boating counterparts.” This
is big. Non-boaters, alas, said they felt
“useless, lonely, unhappy and fatigued.” (Too much
tofu, don’t you think?)
Anyway, the point is, if
you’re not a boater then now you have no more
excuses. But you’re probably wondering, “How do I
get started?” First, don’t fret about the pain
it’s going to exact on your bank account. Actually
you can be a boater and never own a boat. All you
have to do is wear Sperry Top-Siders and hang out
with people who actually do own a boat. Every now
and then, for the sake of appearance, you could
charter a boat. From, say, a company celebrating
20 years in the charter business. But, I digress.
Here’s the best part. Boating
is a heckuva lot more fun than jogging six miles
or going to bed after a supper of sprouts. All
these years you were thinking “no pain, no gain.”
That just ain’t so. Dr. Atkins says you can eat
all the cheese and butter you want. Dr. Barb says
you can go boating all you want. Life really is
The beginning boater, like
the triathlon athlete, needs to start his/her
program toward a healthier, happier lifestyle
carefully. Since a trip of a thousand miles starts
with the first step, as the Chinese proverb tells
us, I think your first step should be to go to
your local boat show. Smell the smell of new
fiberglass. See the lights play against the shined
up gel-coat. Eat a corn dog. Watch the people.
These are your kind of people. (Well, some are.)
Walk the aisles and listen to Jimmy Buffett sing
“Changes in Attitudes; Changes in Latitudes.”
Step two. Don’t buy a boat.
Not yet, anyway. Your entry into the boating
lifestyle requires that you first determine what
kind of boater you want to be. Do you want to
cruise in a big comfortable yacht, paddle a kayak,
or fly an airboat across Big Cypress Swamp?
You see, boating is not one
activity, but many. Your boat is just the vehicle
to do your thing. Is your thing fishing? Then ask
yourself if you want to fish from a jon boat, an
aluminum skiff, a bass boat, a flats boat, a bay
boat, a center console, a walk-around cuddy, or a
long-range, offshore sportfisherman.
Want to sail? Then you need
to determine whether you’ll sail on a sailboard, a
day sailer, a sailing dinghy, a cruising sailboat
or a racing sailboat.
Want to run around and water
ski? You might tilt toward a personal watercraft,
a runabout, a bow rider, a pure ski boat, a deck
boat, a go-fast boat or a jet boat.
Want to cruise? Maybe you’d
like to own what Vic calls a “vacation home that
floats.” Then tour a houseboat, a motor yacht, a
trawler, or even a megayacht.
Like I said, there’s a lot to
learn before you pull the trigger. Which brings
Step three. Before you buy a
boat, go to a boating school. There’s a lot to
learn. I recommend Florida Sailing & Cruising
School in N. Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. Of
Step four. Buy your wife some
Step five. Buy the boat and
use it, often.
Step six. Live happily, and
healthily, ever after.