You've put your boat away for the season; now what?

Published online: Nov 23, 2010 News BoatUS

ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 22, 2010 - Across much of America, boaters, sailors and anglers have put away the boat for the season.  With spring a long way away, what will keep boaters' passion for water alive all winter long? Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has these suggestions:

1. Make frequent visits to your boat club or marina: Hey, they aren't expecting you, right? Gosh, who knows what goes on during the sleepy winter months, but you are about to find out. While you are at it, check up on your boat and make sure the family of raccoons living in the cuddy has everything they need.

2. Take care of your boating spouse: Spend a good amount on a gift for your boating spouse and give it to him or her now. This way, the moment they start to complain that you are spending way too much money over the winter on "toys" for the boat, you can smartly respond that you did think of them first.

3. Drive your family crazy: All that nautical knowledge you've accumulated over the years isn't going to be passed down to future generations without a little help. Start by referring to everything in the house by its nautical name, and announce the time by ringing a large brass bell. Carry on the great musical traditions of the sea by learning a few sea chanties (great for company, too!). This is also a great time to pick up that boatswain's pipe you've been meaning to play with - the kids will appreciate being summoned to breakfast with a cheerful "all hands" call. At least when spring does finally roll around, they'll all be excited to get you out of the house for some boating fun!

4. Start an ice-out contest: To engage your local community and do some good, start a charity fundraiser that centers around correctly guessing when the local waterway will be free of ice come springtime. Please note that the practice of using elected officials to stand on the ice to monitor and advise of the exact time ice-out occurs is no longer acceptable.

5. Practice your safety-at-sea: No one will object to donning their life jacket on the boat after they get used to wearing them all winter long from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed. Impromptu abandon ship drills are easy to do with the family sedan, and if you've got a cat and a bathtub, you've got all the makings of a realistic man overboard scenario. Remember: disaster strikes when you least expect it, like in the middle of the night, when everyone else is sleeping peacefully!

6. Make a list of boating stuff you want for Christmas gifts: And share it now with family members so they get the point that the items listed are the only ones you will be expecting under the Christmas tree. For heaven's sake, aren't you tired of getting pajamas - again?

7. But seriously, folks: BoatUS strongly urges boaters to use the off-season to improve their knowledge of boating safety. You can start by taking the free online boating safety course and learning about other boating safety programs at www.BoatUS.com/Foundation.

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About BoatUS:

BoatUS - Boat Owners Association of The United States - is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half million members with government representation, programs and money saving services. For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.

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