Pleasure boating is popular worldwide. It is a recreational activity suitable for children, teens, adults, and those in their golden years. The infatuation with water and its relaxing properties is obviously ageless. A boat can be defined as any waterborne vehicle or vessel. It displaces the water around it. It is more buoyant than than a typical floating object like a log or raft but it is shaped specifically for stability and forward propulsion. This definition suits every boat but the similarities in boats pretty much end there.
Pleasure boating includes paddle boats, sailboats, powerboats, and everything in between. Pleasure boating can be one of the most relaxing and pleasant experiences on earth. However, pleasure boating is not free. As a matter of fact it can get quite costly. There's no question the cost of boat ownership has been hampered by a struggling economy. Boat sales in the USA have slumped. New boat sales have hit their lowest sales figures in decades. The used boat market has actually been flooded by watercraft, not unwanted, but unaffordable for many. This has actually driven down value overall. But the cost of the boat itself is only the beginning. Maintenance at the local marina is an investment in itself. There are those who claim watercraft maintenance actually rivals aircraft maintenance in terms of overall expense. Then there is the fuel. Filling the fuel tank in your boat every weekend can get costly. And for those who trailer to the lake or beach, there's the fuel for the truck or van. Add in food and beverage for the day and you'll find yourself investing quite a few hard-earned dollars for some quiet time on the open water.
How does a day on the lake stack up financially versus an amusement park or day at the beach? There are many factors determining overall expense and it is difficult to make a legitimate comparison on the value from a financial standpoint. However as many boaters know, the value is truly in the family time, the peace, the tranquility, the water sports. Getting away, even for the day has long lasting positive effects of reduced stress and strengthening of the family. Even as we see the economy slow and joblessness rise, the resilient boating community will survive. Though it is not thriving in current economic conditions, it is surviving. The love of boats and the joy of the open water is enough to keep the industry afloat until such time we see economic growth again.