Most know Mike Schmidt for his years at third base which earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame. What's he been up to since his days on the field in Philadelphia? For the past 35 years, whenever he's had the chance, Schmidt's been on the water enjoying the boating life. Today he splits time between Florida and Rhode Island and recently sat down with Discover Boating (DB) to talk boats.
Listen to Mike's CBS Radio Houston Interview
DB: Why do you love boating?
Mike: I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and my family was in the swimming pool business, so I grew up in the water. As a kid, my grandparents used to rent a condominium in Fort Lauderdale and we would visit them every winter. I looked forward to it because when I got down there I was just enamored by the whole Lauderdale boat scene. We're talking about way back in the 1960s. My grandparents used to walk me down to Bahia Mar Marina and we would see the fishing fleet come in and check out all the fish. There was just something about that lifestyle with the boats, the wake, the water and the beauty of the place that got in my blood as a young boy. One of my goals in life was to someday be able to own my own boat and have it parked behind my house. Low and behold, it was a dream that I was fortunate enough to have come true.
DB: When did you get hooked on boating?
Mike: My father bought me a little model boat one time — it was maybe a foot long with an outboard motor on the back. Every morning I would take that boat out to the swimming pool, put it in the water and start it up. The outboard motor would run it across the pool and I would run around the pool, grab the boat, put it back in the water and run it to the other side—for hours at a time. For some reason, to this day, I still think watching that little boat is where I got my boat "jones." I have a little bigger boat these days, but I still kind of do the same thing with it, except I am at the wheel now.
DB: Where are your favorite places to boat?
Mike: We found this beautiful place on Narragansett Bay, which is now my favorite place to boat. I can't wait to get up here in the summertime. There are so many places to go — Block Island, Newport, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket — all within reach on the boat. More conveniently, there are little towns nearby where you can go and have lunch. My wife and I just love to hop in the boat and go to lunch. Places still on my bucket list…I would love to take my boat from Florida and come up the Intracoastal Waterway some time.
DB: What makes for your best days on the boat?
Mike: The best days are when you leave the dock and enjoy the whole day on the water. Maybe have a little cookout or a walk on the beach. Anchor, tie up, catch some fish — there are so many things that are a ton of fun out on the water. For me, the perfect ending to a good day of boating is to wash my boat. I love to wash my boat.
“There was just something about the lifestyle with the boats, the wake, the water and the beauty of the place that got in my blood as a young boy.” – Mike Schmidt
DB: Any tips for those who want to get started in boating?
Mike: Based on my experience as a boater for 35 years, start small. Respect the water. Respect the weather. The one thing that has helped me over the years is patience. I never really try to do anything fast when I'm on a boat. I don't try to get out of a marina fast. I don't try to dock fast. I never want to be in a hurry on a boat. In fact, that's what boating is about — taking your time. It's peaceful. Give it a try and get out there — there's nothing like it.
DB: What do you love about being out on the water?
Mike: My favorite thing about being out on the water is how peaceful it can be. Boating gets you away from the hustle and bustle of your normal life and off the computer. There is so much to look at when you are out on the water and it's peaceful. There's something about floating that just makes me happy. I love going places and having on-water destinations. Then there's the freedom of being on the water alone or hanging out with your family and friends.
“I never want to be in a hurry on a boat. In fact, that's what boating's about — taking your time. It's peaceful. ” – Mike Schmidt
DB: Do you go boating with your family?
Mike: We've had some great times on the water with the family. My children are older now, in their thirties, and we get on the water when they come visit us in Rhode Island. We'll take a day trip on the boat. But, when they kids were younger we had some cool boating experiences in Florida. We always looked forward to a summer time trip to the Bahamas, where we would take the boat across the Golf Stream about 55 miles to the Bahamas. Sometimes, we would stay on our boat depending on the size of the boat and the size of the family that year. The kids would bring their friends along and sometimes it would get crowded, but we made due. The times we had as a family on the boat are memorable and unforgettable.
DB: What music is on your boating playlist?
Mike: When I'm alone out on the water, I listen to whatever music I want to listen to. It's really hard when you are out on the water not to have some reggae or [Jimmy] Buffett playing. When I'm out there with my wife, she doesn't like music out on the water—she likes to listen to nature. She likes the peace and quiet of being out on the boat. My kids, of course, have different taste in music. No matter what, it's nice to have some good music playing when you are out on the water.