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4 Reasons to Get Out and Enjoy Boating

The boating lifestyle is one the entire family can embrace, and the love of boating can be easily passed down through the generations. Ask any boater, and he or she likely will tell you that a parent or grandparent also was a boater. What’s more, avid boaters often introduce their own children to the fun, continuing the tradition.

Whether you’re a lifelong boater or someone who’s just thinking about taking the plunge, now is a great time to get out on the water. Here’s why:

1. National Fishing & Boating Week

There’s a simple, timely reason to get out on the water this spring: National Fishing & Boating Week is coming up on June 1-8, 2014.

Here’s a few ways to celebrate the week-long on-water extravaganza:

  • Learn to fish
  • Find outstanding spots (http://takemefishing.org/fishing/map/) near you to enjoy recreational boating and fishing.
  • Connect with other anglers — sharing photos is a great way to start.
  • Plan to attend a National Fishing & Boating Week event. Many states will be hosting special activities such as how-to clinics, derbies, parades and festivals. Check out the RBFF community events listings to learn more.
  • Take advantage of your state’s free fishing days. These are days where anglers may fish on public waterways without fishing licenses; they’re a great opportunity for beginners to try fishing for the first time.

If you’re already an accomplished boater, or a longtime angler who already has a fishing license, consider becoming a mentor — take a newbie out for the day! Many people are drawn to the water but are too intimidated to rent a boat or consider a boat purchase. Some are even daunted at the prospect of getting a fishing license and heading out there without the benefit of a more experienced guide. You can help.

Remember, also, that a portion of all fishing tackle and license sales, as well as boat supply and registration sales, go toward the conservation of our natural aquatic areas. One important effort is the Sport Fish Restoration Program. By enjoying your favorite pastimes, you’re helping to support the natural environment you love.

2. Easy Water Access

Consider this: According to the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), approximately 90 percent of Americans live less than an hour from a navigable body of water. These waterways aren’t limited to the East or West coasts, the Gulf of Mexico or the Great Lakes; there are countless inland lakes, reservoirs and rivers throughout the country that provide memorable boating opportunities.

A boat allows access to the water without the cost and hassle of purchasing waterfront property. According to RBFF, we have 35,000 boat ramps in the United States, which is double the number of U.S. golf courses, and 3.5 million miles of rivers. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association reports that we have 95,471 miles of ocean and Great Lakes shoreline.

3. Everyone Needs to De-Stress

If 48 percent of people lie awake at night due to stress, and just 37.5 percent turn to the outdoors to manage their stress, as the American Psychological Association reports, then clearly we all could benefit from spending time on the water. Just think of your kids: RBFF says that 75 percent of teachers feel students who spend time outdoors are more creative and are better problem solvers, while 90 percent of the kids themselves say that spending time outside helps them relieve stress.

A 2005 National Marine Manufacturers Association survey revealed that boating is among the top three stress-relieving activities, along with weekend road trips and exercise. The survey of more than 1,000 American households found that the most popular boating-related activity is relaxing with family and friends (40 percent), followed by fishing (33 percent), cruising (14 percent) and waterskiing (8 percent).

Not only will boating allow you to spend time in the outdoors and enjoy nature, it can mean weekend getaways involving active pursuits such as waterskiing, wakeboarding, snorkeling, beachcombing, swimming and fishing. It might even involve live-aboard cruising or camping. That’s clearly a recipe for de-stress success.

4. It’s Not as Expensive as You Think

Let’s say you love boating and fishing, or you first discover your passion during this year’s National Fishing & Boating Week. Now what? There’s no way you could actually afford a boat and become part of that lifestyle, right?

Wrong. Boating, as a family recreational activity, is much more affordable that many people think. According to DiscoverBoating.com, a boat can be financed for a couple hundred dollars a month, similar to a car loan. By comparison, with a two-week vacation, you save for months to invest in something that disappears as soon as the clock runs out. To find out how the boating lifestyle fits into your budget, visit the Discover Boating website, which contains a budget planner and a variety of other resources.

See you on the water!

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