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.”
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 in Latitudes.”
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 Cypress Swamp?
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 sportfisherman.
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 sailboat.
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 megayacht.
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.