(BPT) - Starting to plan a summer getaway? Skip the plane ride or long road trip — go boating to enjoy the fun and relaxation of vacation at your convenience. Whether you prefer an action-packed weekend of watersports with the family, a relaxing after-work cruise with your friends or a serene morning of fishing by yourself, getting out on the water is more accessible than you may think.
In fact, more than 142 million Americans go boating each year, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association.
With Americans working longer hours and dealing with stress, unplugging to relax and recharge is more important than ever. According to Project Time Off’s 2018 study, The State of American Vacation, 52 percent of Americans are not using their full vacation time.
"Vacation time doesn’t mean having to travel far. You can enjoy all the benefits close to home — and more frequently — just by being on a boat,” said Carl Blackwell, president of Discover Boating. “Boating is a convenient way to escape from the stress on land, soak up the sunshine and fresh air and make lasting memories with your loved ones.”
Don’t leave vacation time on the table this year. Whether you’re interested in fishing, watersports, sailing or cruising, take advantage of convenient ways to get on the water with these insider tips:
1) Join a boat club. Find a boat club near you to access a versatile fleet of boats. You’ll pay a monthly fee and be able to book your time on the water online. Most boat clubs take care of docking, cleaning and maintenance, with members responsible for fuel. Plus, most offer boat training courses as part of the membership.
2) Rent a boat. Rental options are available on most waterways and provide hourly, daily or weekly access to a variety of boat types. Rental outfitters give tutorials on operating a boat, share safety instructions and offer suggestions on destinations. Another rental option is peer-to-peer rentals, where you can locate boats online by entering your zip code, allowing you to rent someone else's boat, which usually includes insurance and captains for hire to help you set sail.
3) Take a class. Sign up for a boating lesson to hone your powerboating, sailing or watersports skills by mastering the basics while having fun along the way. On-water training courses, watersports camps, youth boating programs and more are offered across the U.S.
4) Float your own boat. Chart your own course to boat ownership by visiting DiscoverBoating.com, where you'll find a boat finder and loan calculator tool to help determine your budget and identify the types of boats that fit your lifestyle and interests. Once you've narrowed down your search, the site connects you with manufacturers whose boats best fit your needs and wants.
Getting on the water has added health benefits. Four in five Americans say being around water relaxes them and 72 percent feel healthier after spending time on the water, according to a recent survey.
Learn how to go boating close to home by using Discover Boating’s Go Boating Today tool. Enter your zip code to find nearby rentals, classes, boat clubs and more.