It’s best to practice an attitude of gratitude year-round but since it’s that time of year, boaters should take a moment to reflect on how especially thankful they are for being able to enjoy boating in all its many forms.
Here are 10 reasons to give extra thanks this Thanksgiving (in no particular order).
1. Boating Friends
Boating brings together people from all walks of life but their differences seem to dissolve in water. Boating is the glue that gives strangers a common outlook and it’s not unusual for boaters who just met to lend each other a helping hand and even form lasting friendships. Consider this—if it wasn’t for your boat, you may not have all the friends you do.
2. Family Ties
In a fast-paced world, it’s hard to find time for family and that’s where boats shine. Whether it’s taking kids out fishing, cruising the islands with your partner or hosting your parents for a sundowner cruiser, boats give us a reason to come (and stay) together. Passing down a passion for boating is also immensely satisfying.
3. Versatile Boats
Boats have become multi-mission vehicles as boaters ask them to do double and triple duty. Today, you can waterski behind a pontoon boat, sail a souped-up kayak, fish from a day cruiser or entertain with an outdoor galley on a center console fishing boat. There are no more hard rules for what a boat model is for so whatever the activity of the moment, boats can morph into the perfect platform.
4. Safer Boats
Boat builders are developing safer boats that make boating with kids, grandparents and the mobility-challenged easier. Stabilization systems have been miniaturized and made more affordable so that even smaller boats are steadier and everyone stays on their feet. Also, hydraulic swim platforms have become nearly standard on many cruisers and provide both a teak beach to play on and a way to lift swimmers out of the water without the need for a cumbersome ladder.
5. Smarter Boats
Connectivity has come to boating in full force and made boats smarter. Via WiFi, you can communicate with your boat on your smartphone to turn on lights and live wells before you even walk down the dock. In turn, boats can signal you if something is amiss like a high water alarm or a security breach and some can even send you messages on upcoming maintenance needs before there’s a breakdown.
6. Easier Boating
The hurdles to being a mariner keep dissipating as boats become more user-friendly. Joystick drive means that docking is no longer a frightening prospect and electric windlasses, now available even on small models, save your back when it’s time to retrieve the anchor. Furthermore, today’s continually evolving marine electronics including GPS, advanced navigation/charting software, radar and integrated backup cameras mean even new boaters can be more adventurous.
7. Greener Boating
Boats are more environmentally friendly than ever. Many builders toady use vacuum infusion, which is a cleaner boat building process and it delivers lighter but stronger hulls using less fiberglass and epoxy. That means you can use smaller, more fuel-sipping engines to power these lighter boats and you’ll not only leave a smaller footprint, you’ll save at the gas pump too.
8. Weather Worries
Thanksgiving means that hurricane season thankfully has passed. For Floridians, that means safer conditions when boating to the out islands. For those living farther north, there’s still the possibility of an extended Indian summer to sneak in one more fishing trip and take some me-time before the festivities begin.
9. Cheap Therapy
Relaxing aboard with the feel of the sun on your skin, having uninterrupted time to read, taking time to teach your dog how to SUP with you, or meditating while waiting for the fish to bite, are all reasons we boat. Boating gives us a chance to recharge our personal batteries and it’s often cheaper and always more fun than therapy.
10. Thanksgiving Aboard
If you’re lucky enough to be aboard this holiday season, well then you’re lucky enough. Plan a feast aboard because everything tastes better on the water. However, if your climate means your boat is already laid up for winter, then consider whisking the family to the islands for an eclectic holiday dinner aboard a charter boat in the Caribbean. You have these options because you’re a boater so give thanks for your skills.