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. Seriously.
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 have a boat. Every now and then, for
appearance’ sake, you could charter a boat. From,
say, a company celebrating 30 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 good.
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
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
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
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
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
Like I said, there’s a lot to learn before you
pull the trigger. Which brings me to…
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 course.
Step four. Buy your wife some jewelry.
Step five. Buy the boat and use it, often.
Step six. Live happily and healthily, ever after.