(BPT) - Whether it's the wind in your hair, the whine of a reel or the thrill of watersports, every summer the water invites us to jump in and have some fun. Many might be surprised to learn that boating is an accessible and active hobby close to home, making it easy to plan a day on the water.
More than 60 percent of Americans say outdoor recreation, such as boating is important for their overall well-being, according to Discover Boating. In fact, more than 83 million Americans go boating each year.
'Summer is the best time to turn off those smartphones and turn up the quality time spent with loved ones and there's no better place to bond than on a boat,' says Carl Blackwell, a boater from Chicago and president of Discover Boating. 'Boating offers something for everyone - from fishing to wakeboarding to cruising and more. Plus, today's boats are more versatile than ever, making boating more fun and accessible for every interest, lifestyle and budget.'
Whether planning an on-the-water getaway, looking to rent, or considering ownership, getting on a boat has never been more fun or easier to do. DiscoverBoating.com offers four simple ways to disconnect from land and get your feet wet this season:
* On-water thrills.For action-packed excitement, try waterskiing, wakeboarding or tubing. Watersports are fun for the whole family and a great workout, plus they're an easy way to get the kids to turn off the videogames and play outside. A little online research makes it easy to find on-water rentals, lessons and demonstrations near you, plus there's also watersports clubs and organizations around the U.S. offering affordable programs for all skill levels.
* Gone fishin'. There's more to love about fishing than just the catching - enjoying nature, spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors. A favorite hobby for many, fishing offers a lot of fun for little cost. Consider renting a fishing boat at a nearby lake or setting up a deep sea fishing charter at the coast - cast a line and test the waters.
* Cruise control. If relaxing and socializing rank at the top of your list for summer fun, the cruising lifestyle may be just right. Rentals are widely available nationwide, from daily, hourly or weekend charters. Be your own captain or hire one to show you the ropes. Fractional ownership is an emerging trend - similar to a lodging time share, but for boats, offering a way to access new boats and share costs among friends or other boaters.
* Sail away. Sailboats harness the breeze to power the boat across the water. Sailing lessons, charters and clubs are offered around the country for sailors of all (or no) skill levels. Looking to learn? Weave a charter, rental or sailing clinic into your summer vacation; it's a fun way to get started and spend time with family and friends while picking up new skills.
A little research can go a long way for on-water options in your area this summer. Start with DiscoverBoating.com, a beginner's guide to all things boating from a handy boat selector and cost comparison tool to a step-by-step guide - there's something for anyone looking to take the first step from the dock to the boat deck.