Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I’m terrified of water. A small part of that is never wanting to see myself in a swimsuit, but mostly because when I was young, maybe around 10-years-old, I was caught under a raft in lake and had to be pulled to safety. It seems ridiculous now – why couldn’t I just swim away from the raft – but when you’re expecting to pop up out of the water and the edges of the raft suction the raft in it’s place, you panic. When I began sailing competitively in college, my friends and family thought I was nuts.
When I returned to college at the end my 20s, I felt completely out of place. Clubs and organizations available on campus were my saving grace. I made amazing friends, experienced once-in-a-lifetime moments, and added some pretty impressive bullets to my resume. Among these – the one that gets the most interesting conversations started – was my stint as a competitive sailor.
My friends were the trailblazers, as we started the club and recruited the members. I was one of the initial members recruited, practically dragged in by my friends. My aversion to water and my impression of those who sailed – rich, snobby, stale – was blown out of the water, pun intended. Our community college team raced against teams from schools like University of Michigan, Northwester and Ohio State and we won. We repeatedly won, dressed in our unmatched lifejackets and sweatpants and tennis shoes.
Ninety percent of Americans live within an hour’s drive of a navigable body of water. Boating can be exciting, like racing against prestigious schools in the country, or relaxing, like sitting with your family, poles in hand, and talking about your favorite boating memories.
Even if you’ve never before boated, or all you have is your own memories and you want your family to share their own, Discover Boating is a wonderful place at which to start. You can find which boat is right for your family, find a resource for renting a boat when you’re not ready, or not willing, to purchase, and if you’re certain that boating is far too expensive an activity for your family, perhaps you might utilize the cost comparison tool!
Sailing in college provided me with some of the most amazing memories and great stories to tell my kids. I’m a little less afraid of the water – sailing during some of the most treacherous and chilly weather helped with that – and it’s something I can share with my kids when they get older. They love boating!