Forget the mundane New Year resolutions that consist of diets and office facetime. This year, it’s all about elevating your boating adventures, bringing you unparalleled joy and thrilling experiences on the water.
We’ve put together a list of the best boaters’ New Year’s resolutions. It includes all kinds of things to make boating better for you, your family and friends. From a safer season and more time on the water, to exciting destinations and new toys, our list will guarantee a remarkable season and smooth sailing.
Before we give you the cool, fun and exciting ideas, kick off the new year with a few practical resolutions:
Check your flares
Did you know that your emergency flares expire 42 months after they’re made? That means you need to replace them after just a few seasons on the water. To help you out, here’s a handy guide from the U.S. Coast Guard that explains the types of flares that are available and approved, and when you should use each type.
How do you responsibly dispose of your expired flares? That’s not as easy an explanation, as it varies from state to state. You’ll need to check with your local authorities about the best way to do that.
Upgrade your lifejackets
According to BoatUS, more than two-thirds of all boating fatalities are drowning incidents, and 90 percent of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. That’s why it’s critically important that you have up-to-date and comfortable (yes, even stylish) life jackets that your crew will wear. And make sure you have appropriate life jackets for everyone on board, including children and your faithful dog.
Expand your boating knowledge
Whether this is your first boat or you’re truly an Old Salt, there’s always something you can learn about being a safe and smart captain. Luckily, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary offers a slew of courses for boaters of all levels. Just type in your zip code on their website and you’ll be taken to a full list of all the upcoming courses in your area.
Remember, more boaters are cruising the waters today than ever before, so the more prepared you are, the better. And, even if your safety knowledge is unparalleled, think about sharpening your other boating skills with navigation, knot tying, or even a boating history course.
Brush up on boating best practices
It really doesn’t matter how long you’ve been boating, it’s always important to make sure that boating best practices are front of mind. Not only will it protect your investment, your passengers, yourself, and the environment, but it also makes for good boating. Boaters are some of the best people on the planet, so we can never forget to act the part.
Here they are! The cool, fun, and exciting bits we promised.
Get a new water toy
Your fishing poles and snorkeling masks will always hold a place in your heart. But it’s time to broaden your water-toy horizons. Go ahead and treat yourself to some new toys that will make boating in the next year even more fun. The toys that are bringing thrills to all ages are towable tubes. There are tubes with seating for 1 to 3 passengers so the fun can be shared! There are even banana-shaped tubes that bring on the challenge. These tow toys turn your wake into a party behind your boat. Oh, and while you’re at it, check your towropes and order new ones if yours are showing wear and tear.
Pick up some cool, new tech
Hot new boating electronics are hitting the stores faster than you can say “Land Ho!” There are gizmos and gadgets that let you know how your engine is doing, where to find the fish and even self-steering gear. So, if there’s something that caught your eye at the last boat show, treat yourself!
Simply put, spend more time boating! All boaters say they want to do this, but somehow other commitments get in the way. It’s time to pledge not to let other commitments keep you from your favorite pastime. It’s really not that hard. Simply mark a few days every month on your calendar with “Boating!” It’s beneficial mentally and physically as you disconnect from the daily grind and reconnect with the open water. Consider it doctor’s orders.
Set your course for someplace new
Charting your course, reserving your marina(s), packing up and cruising away to a location you’ve never been before, is a sure-fire way to keep the excitement in your life. You’ve probably gotten comfortable cruising to your usual haunts. So, isn’t it time you set your sights on exciting new destinations up and down the coasts, and in and out of intercoastal waterways and lakes? A fresh adventure is guaranteed to create memories to last a lifetime – and bragging rights!
Start a cruising log
We all have stories from our time on our boats – good ones. Why not start a cruising log to record your activities and travels? Time on the water is the perfect setting for writing down your observations, thoughts, and feelings. No doubt your children and grandchildren will thank you for it. At the very least, writing is very therapeutic.
Buy a new boat
This may be the year to invest in your first boat or upgrade to a larger one. Boating gives us the chance to spend quality time by ourselves or with family and friends. On a boat, you can step away from distractions like cell phones, TVs, and tablets. It’s a rare opportunity to break out of the sidetracking digital trap. Boating is a proven stress reducer. Plus, it gives you back that quality time with the people you love that you don’t get among the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And, boating is not just for experts. Boaters of all levels can enjoy it and quickly pick up the necessary skills.