Looking to get away from the daily grind during warm weather? The answer may be to leave your stress on land and take those outdoor plans on the water. Four in five Americans say being around water relaxes them, and 72 percent feel healthier after spending time on the water, according to a Discover Boating survey.
Americans are working longer hours, dealing with stress and constantly connected to technology, with just 46 percent taking their full vacation time, according to Project Time Off's 2017 study, The State of American Vacation.
One easy solution? Get on the water and go boating. Whether close to home or on vacation, being on, in or near the water is good for you. In fact, the human brain consists of 75 percent water, so when you see or hear water it triggers the brain to react positively, according to Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist and author of Blue Mind, a bestselling novel on the scientific connection between water and happiness.
What's more, boating 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.
"Modern technology can make it more difficult to fully disconnect and relax, and boating is one of the few activities that can take you away from daily distractions to a place where you can reconnect with friends and family, relax and enjoy the outdoors," says Carl Blackwell, president of Discover Boating.
There are easy ways to get on the water, no matter where you are or whether your interests lie in fishing, watersports, sailing, personal watercraft or simply cruising with loved ones. Use these five tips to help you find your way on the water.
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.
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 new to market 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.
Charter a trip.
Explore new waters and experience the boating lifestyle by chartering a boat trip with family or friends. Chartering offers several options - bareboat (with no captain) or crewed (with captain and crew), and can be as short as a few days or weeks long. Pick your preferences and get your feet wet.
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.
Float your own boat.
Chart your own course to boat ownership by visiting DiscoverBoating.com, where you'll find a boat selector and loan calculator tool to help determine your budget and identify types of boats that fit your lifestyle and interests. Once you've narrowed down your search, the site can connect you with manufacturers whose boats best fit your needs and wants.
Get off the dock and climb aboard a boat by using DiscoverBoating.com's Go Boating Today interactive tool - just enter your zip code to find boat clubs, rentals or charters close to home.