Santa is making his
list and checking it twice. Since you've been very
nice I suggest you ask him for the best gift of
all – family and friends. That's also known as
Yes. There’s something about boating that insists
that it be done in the company of others. It’s all
about teamwork and accomplishing something
together. It's about a common purpose, about
strengthening relationships, about forging shared
memories that last a lifetime.
A few years ago a single
man took one of our live-aboard courses at Florida
Sailing and Cruising School. Just student and
instructor. They 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 if
he didn't have somebody to enjoy it with. The
instructor told me the man thought about this for
a long minute. Then he looked up and said, “I
think I should think about being in a
Relationship building is the main reason why I
believe boating is the best possible gift. The
gift is not the boat. Rather, the gift is
commitment we make to each other. After that, you
can look for a boat to buy or, like many, just
decide to charter vessels for personal cruises.
Experts say there is a
high correlation between boating and happiness,
and I think the reason is they are doing it with
people they care about. Heck, every time I go
boating I know I'll get a positive charge times
three: One, when Vic and I plan the cruise. Two,
when we cruise. Three, when we remember the
As a matter of fact,
some years ago the National Marine Manufacturer's
Association sponsored some research that showed
that boaters are happier than non-boaters. Maybe
boaters are naturally happy even before they start
boating but, whichever, boating always puts a big
exclamation point on it.
So, you've got a boat
and your favorite people are on board. Now what?
time for it.
Everybody complains that they don’t have enough
time. Well, when you’re hooked on it, boating
motivates you to make time for it. It's that
important. I heard about a physician in solo
practice who wanted to go boating but he never had
any time off. He figured out a solution. He went
into practice with other doctors but he made a
deal with them. The deal was each would take
extended time off periodically for whatever they
wanted to do and the other doctors would look
after missing doctor’s patients while he was gone.
When you've moved the big parts of the picture
into place I think you and yours will discover
that the other pieces to life's happiness puzzle
fall into place easily.
Some examples: there's a feeling of
accomplishment. There's a lot to know and a lot to
do when you're boating and a good job-well-done
feeling at the end of the day and the end of the
cruise. You'll get your rest. On a boat, you'll
sleep like a baby. Naps are okay, too.
Oh yes, there's stress reduction. On the boat
you'll be miles away, mentally and physically,
from life's workaday burdens. You'll be loving the
scenery. You'll be checking the nautical chart. At
the end of the day you'll be placing the anchor so
the boat drifts back to the perfect place on the
planet for the sunset.
The best part is that even after
the cruise is over and you're back doing what you
do, the memories you made will always be with you.
When I find my mind drifting into negative
territory, I can jerk it back to the happy side of
the scale by summoning up some delightful cruise
in the past.
It's a cliché, I know, but the reason that boating
is the best gift of all is that it never stops
giving back. If you’re already boating, make time
for more. If you’re not may I just remind you that
Santa is making a list.