The opportunities for developing new and exciting skills are limited only by your interest. The top three activities most boaters participate in are fishing, water sports and cruising. Many boating families enjoy a combination of all three, but often start off getting their feet wet with cruising.
Cruising is like going for a drive through the country. It’s a way to escape from day-to-day congestion, see some wildlife, get a little sun and breathe in fresh air. When I’m on the water, it’s almost like being in another world. I often tell people it’s my form of therapy.
A boat cruise can have purpose, such as patronizing a waterside eatery or meeting up with other boaters and anchoring out for a BBQ. (Yes, there are BBQs for boats.) Or it can simply be an opportunity for family or friends to connect without the distraction of video games and e-mail. Working on your tan, going for an exhilarating swim and splashing water at each other is healthy, old-fashioned fun in my book.
Delta waters offer an amazing fishery for bass, both largemouth and stripers. Fishing can be as simple or technical as you want to make it. Serious bass anglers buy specialized boats and gear to compete in fishing tournaments. However, simply trolling a rubber grub behind the boat with a Barbie fishing pole will delight any youngster when the spring striper spawn is underway.
Water sports are a hit with the X-Games generation. Back in my day, slalom skiing was the thing, considered tame and boring by today’s standard. The current rage is wakeboarding. Boats designed for this activity generate a monstrous wave (wake) that boarders can perform some amazing jumps from, including complete flips.
Don’t forget the endless number of pull-behind contraptions that youngsters of all ages can enjoy. The simple ones are basically large inner tubes (equipped with handles) that you lie on top of; the elaborate are contraptions resembling flying saucers featuring seats for a small crowd. I have yet to pass one without seeing grins from ear to ear.
Living in Delta communities affords us premier boating right in our own backyard. For many, it’s a shorter drive than going to the movies. The season is long and warm. Hundreds of miles of waterways are available for exploring and claiming as your own, if for only the day.
If you like the outdoors, spending quality time with family and friends, enjoy wind in your hair on a warm summer day and can use a little stress reduction, then discover boating (www.discoverboating.com).
You might also be excited to know that boating is both affordable and easy to learn. Have a look but be warned: fresh air and warm water can be addictive. If you have already discovered this Delta treasure, invite that boatless neighbor or colleague from work out on the water and expose them to our world of refuge. Have fun and boat safe.
Jonathan Bloom is a USCG licensed Master and ASA certified sailing instructor. He can be reached via www.baydeltafun.com.