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Family memories made while boating

Reasons Why this Boater started ... and stays with Boating

BY Magson Marine – JULY 2011

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 rands. 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 tomorrow. 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 of you.

#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 her.
  • 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 at sunset.
  • 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.

Research: Here are the results of a national research project done on adult boaters

The best part is that boaters are always adding to their list of memories.

  • 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 compared 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 participate in athletics and outdoor recreation activities.
  • 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 be impractical in part of your life, the intangible returns on your boating "investment" can well be well worth it.

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