Fishing and Boating for Pandemic Stress Relief

“Get On Board” launches to help Americans find mental health on the water

July 2020 Feature

As COVID-19 continues to wear on Americans’ mental health, Take Me Fishing and Discover Boating are launching a new public service campaign called Get On Board to raise awareness about the wellness benefits of fishing and boating.

The campaign is informed by the latest consumer research from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), the national nonprofit organization behind the Take Me Fishing brand. According to the current Special Report on Fishing, “relaxing and unwinding” is the No. 1 experience associated with the activity. The report also found that nearly 1 in 3 participants said the best thing about fishing is “getting away from the usual demands of life.”

“Fishing isn’t just about the fish,” said Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for RBFF. “People have long turned to fishing and boating for stress relief. Given the uncertainty in today’s world, there’s something uniquely appealing about the calming effect of the water. For many people, fishing and boating are lifelines to mental health and wellness.”

Additional data suggests that interest in fishing and boating has continued to grow amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent poll, 1 in 5 Americans said they’re more likely now to try the activities than they were prior to the pandemic. Among parents, the statistic is 1 in 4.

“The outdoors is a welcome remedy to stress and anxiety,” said Dr. Sue Varma, a nationally recognized psychiatrist partnering with Take Me Fishing. “Being in nature supports each of the four ‘M’s of mental health: mindfulness, mastery, meaningful engagement and movement. Fishing in particular encourages mindfulness by helping you get away from distractions, it supports mastery by teaching you a new skill, it provides meaningful engagement through quality time with others you may be quarantining with, and it promotes physical movement by getting you outside without requiring a strenuous workout. Looking at fishing from a psychiatrist’s perspective, it’s a smart way to follow social distancing guidelines while prioritizing your health and wellness.”

Those interested in joining the Get On Board movement can visit www.TakeMeFishing.org/GetOnBoard or www.DiscoverBoating.com and use the social media hashtag #TheWaterIsOpen. Website resources include how-to guides for getting started fishing and boating, an interactive map of places to fish as well as local water-access updates to help people recreate responsibly.

“Whoever you are, we could all use a little encouragement right now,” said Vatalaro. “Whether you’re experienced at fishing and boating or a complete newcomer, now’s a great time to gear up, get out and leave worry in your wake. The water is open to everyone, and we’re all invited to heed the call and Get On Board.”

RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF’s recently announced 60 in 60 effort strives to attract 60 million anglers to the sport by the end of 2021. To help recruit, retain and reactivate participants, RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns creating awareness about boating, fishing and conservation, and educating people about the benefits of participation. These campaigns help boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign websites, TakeMeFishing.org and TakeMeFishing.org/es, feature how-to videos, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.

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