Let’s be clear about something right from the start: There are at least 10,000 reasons to go boating. The various, soothing colors of blue and aquamarine water that you get to see must be number in the hundreds all by themselves. Not to mention, each year in June we take a full seven days to celebrate this great pastime during National Fishing and Boating Week.
But for our purposes here, we’re going to focus on a Top 10 of sorts, sharing some of the best reasons to get out and go boating right now. Yes, we could go on and on, but you need to spend less time reading this and more time getting out on the water.
Boating: The Perfect On-Demand Summer Vacation
1. A Family Tradition
Few activities bring families together the way boating does. Get the kids away from the digital devices and out into the world, where they can share onboard jobs such as handling a line or trimming a sail. The kids will learn teamwork, and probably a little bit of geography too, while adults will have a chance to strengthen bonds in a fun environment.
2. Fresh, Salty Air
As the old saying goes, “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Tears don’t sound like much fun, and sweat can leave your muscles aching, which means the sea is the cure to life’s woes that beckons with a smile. A whole book was published in 2014 called Blue Mind, explaining how human beings are naturally drawn to water. Research has shown that coastal living improves physical health, and that being around water makes us happier and calmer. So get out there, go boating, and breathe in the life.
Learn More About "Your Brain on a Boat"
3. A Deeper Perspective
Cruising the coastline can introduce you to an entirely other version of your world, even if you’re just a few miles away from where you grew up. Seeing and experiencing a town from the water is inherently different from experiencing it by land. Just approaching a coastline from the water—seeing the way it’s developed, understanding its geography, learning its natural as well as manmade landmarks—opens your mind to entirely new ways of thinking about a location.
4. Skills Update
No matter how long you’ve been boating, be it one week or a half-century, there’s always something new to learn out on the water. From boat handling and course plotting to reading the water around a busy inlet, cruising on a boat always teaches you something new. And that’s not even counting all the new technology these days, making it super fun to play with all kinds of gadgets and gizmos at the helm.
Let’s face it, America: We all need to get more exercise. And getting that exercise out on a boat in the fresh air and sunshine is a lot more fun than running on a treadmill. Wakesurfing, tubing, wakeboarding, even just balancing your body to move around a boat as it moves through the water—you’ll use muscles that you forgot you even had, and you’ll have a heck of a lot of fun doing it.
Explore All Watersports & Watersports Boats
There are few experiences that create as much fun as a raft-up, which is when boats gather in a harbor and tie up together. It’s basically a block party on the water. The music, the food, the drinks, the laughs: Raft-ups have a camaraderie unlike any other, because everybody there is a person who loves to be on the water. Join the community, and cruise on out to the next raft-up.
*Special Note: Due to the current circumstances brought on by COVID-19, you'll want to ensure that you're following safe social distancing guidelines during your time on the water. That includes boating with your immediate family or in small, intimate groups—and in many cases, avoiding the experience of rafting up.
Learn more by reading our Boating During COVID-19 Safety Guide.
7. A Little, or a Lot
One of the great things about boating is that you don’t have to own a boat to do it. Plenty of places rent boats by the hour, the half-day, the day or even the week, which means you can try boating without committing your entire life to the activity. Start by renting a kayak or a rowboat. Then, move up to renting a ski boat. Before you know it, you just may find yourself cruising offshore as a member of a club that charters bigger boats. The possibilities are endless, and can be tailored to your level of interest.
Renting a Boat: Boat Rentals Guide
8. Boats are Better than Ever
The advancements that boat builders have made in recent years would have been unimaginable to your father’s and grandfather’s generations of boaters. Today’s boats have helm systems that make it easier than ever to dock. Today’s boats have safety and communications features that make it easier than ever to get help. And today’s boats have creature comforts that make being on the water feel like being at home sweet home. Some boats are even built nowadays with magnets in the tables and special drinkware, to keep frosty beverages from spilling.
9. Water Toys are More Fun than Ever
Back in the day, moms and dads would tie inner tubes to ski ropes and tell kids to hang on. Nowadays, there are all kinds of fun toys that go with boating, from inflatable water slides and rock climbing walls to three- and four-person inflatables that can be pulled behind the boat. Concerned about critters? Netted “playpens” can be hung off the back of a boat to give you peace of mind. Some boats even have “never-ending wakes” for surfers who want to ride the endless summer forever.
10. You Can Totally Tune Out
Yes, if you’re near-shore, you will usually still have cellphone service on a boat—but your boss and your crazy brother-in-law and that annoying neighbor who wants to talk about your dog don’t have to know about it. Telling people that you’ve “gone boating” means tuning out the world for as long as you’d like. You’re presumed unreachable, which, in today’s digital-devices age, is a really relaxing thing to be—find out more in 3 Ways Boating Soothes the Soul.
So, are you ready to hit the water? Use our Go Boating Today Tool to find local rentals, charters and boat clubs in your area.
Read Next: 10 Fun Things You Can Do on a Boat
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- 8 Cool Coasts to Cruise in the United States
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in August 2011 and updated in May 2020.