Reasons Why This Boater
Started… And Stays With Boating
-Reprinted with permission from Rob, Webmaster of Palm
I can’t tell you why any
practical person would buy a boat. There is simply
no way to justify the hundreds you will spend every
month on payments, gas, repairs, equipment, storage,
launching fees/marinas, registration and the alike.
Add up your monthly boating expenses and you will
see that you easily could be driving a new car instead.
The value in owning a boat is precisely
that it isn’t practical. The value of boating
isn’t measured in dollars. It’s about the
intangible value it brings to your life.
Here are the 5 reasons boating is
a big part of my life, followed by actual research
on why owning a boat is a good thing:
#1 Boating Is About Living
All of those platitudes like, “life
is short,” “life isn’t a dress rehearsal” and “stop
to smell the roses” are true. Every day we’re
alive and healthy is a gift that might not be here
I have come to accept that the vast majority of my life will be spent at work.
If I’m not working, I’m tending to the endless details required
by everyday existence.
It’s important to make the most of the few precious leisure hours we
have each week. If you don’t make a conscious effort to use them, those
hours simply evaporate. Will you be making memories this weekend or filling
the time with marginal chores? Boating provides a practical way to enjoy the
gift of life. It allows you to fill leisure hours with something valuable.
#2 Boating Is About People
Boating is inclusive of everyone you
know. It’s the only activity that can easily
be enjoyed simultaneously by a 4 year-old, a 16 year-old,
a 40 year-old and an 80 year-old. Almost everyone likes
boating… and gladly accepts an invitation to
join you for a day on the water.
Our family has a diverse group of relationships. We make boat trips that include
the kids’ friends, adult friends, neighbors, business clients and extended
family. Everyone enjoys it.
Boating is also about people you don’t know. A boat is your ticket to
meet other boaters. Other boaters are out to relax and have a good time. When
you meet people who are boating they’re generally happy, helpful and
fun. It’s nice to see these sides of people.
Golf used to be my escape. Golf has many of the qualities of boating. It allows
you to spend time outdoors, concentrate on something besides work and it’s
expensive. However golf is exclusive. Golf is limited to those who can play
the game and afford it. Golf takes half a day away friends and family. 4-16-40-80
year olds cannot enjoy golf simultaneously.
#3 Boating Is About Learning
There’s an old song in which
John Cougar sings, “Oh yeah, life goes on… long
after the thrill of living is gone.” This didn’t
mean much to me until I finished the first time thrills
of youth… school, cars, travel, dating, marriage… you
get the idea. What keeps life thrilling? For me it’s
family and learning new things.
You’re always learning something in boating. At first it’s a boating
safety course. Then it’s actually learning how to handle the boat… then
navigation… then mechanics or basic electronics. It just keeps going.
It’s not just you who is learning. When you go boating with your kids,
they’re picking up on all sorts of things (nautical, environmental, mechanical,
social and self-confidence lessons.) Kids learn to handle the unexpected when
you get surprised during your boating adventures. Your kids learn how to relax
when they see you relax. Kids learn to help others when they see daddy helping
stranded sailboater by towing his boat off a shoal. Kids learn how to have
fun when they have fun with you.
When you go boating with your spouse, together you are overcoming obstacles
and seeing different sides of each other.
When you go boating with friends, they’re learning about a nice side
#4 Boating Is About The Senses
A boat trip awakens all of your senses.
#5 Boating Is About Memories
It didn’t take long for me
to accumulate a lot of great memories that would never
have happened without a boat:
- My young daughter learning to snorkel
for the first time. She bravely swam into the unknown.
I then heard her excited and muffled voice say “Fish!” “Fish” through
the snorkel pipe. The creatures under the water enchanted
- Watching the sunrise from the deck
of my boat while staying at a marina.
- Having dolphins play in my wake.
- Doing cannonballs with my son off
the swim platform.
- Witnessing a hawk fishing for breakfast.
The giant bird plucked a 12” fish from the
water and flew with it for several minutes until
the fish stopped squirming.
- Rounding a bend to discover a tree
full of roosting pelicans.
- Crossing glassy water on plane
- Discovering a starfish the size
of a pizza.
- A manatee and her calf lurching
out of the water 15 feet away.
- The best part is that boaters
are always adding to their list of memories.
Here are the results of a national
research project done on adult boaters:
- Two-thirds say owning a boat has
strengthened their family bonds.
- 89% of boat owners say the #1 reason
for boating is to be outdoors.
- When compared with the general
population boaters are happier with their sex lives.
- When comapred with the general
population, boaters tend to be healthier.
Another research project (paid for
by a boating industry association) explored the effects
of boating on children:
- Children exposed to boating are
more likely to particpate in athletics and outdoor
- By a significant margin, kids who
boat are healthier than children who don't.
- Boating kids are less shy are more
likely to be team players.
- Kids who boat are more self confident,
more optimistic and more likely to be leaders than
kids who don't boat.
- Families who boat spend more time
together all year, even in cold winter months.
Again, I can’t tell you why
any practical person would buy a boat. If you’re
willing to impractical in part of your life, the intangible
returns on your boating “investment” can
well be well worth it.