For many of us, 2020 wasn’t quite the year we imagined. At the very least, personal and professional projects were derailed or vastly altered due to the pandemic. With that in mind, some of us might not be in a particularly celebratory mood this New Year’s Eve. On the other hand, the challenges of the past year may have given you a heightened appreciation for things we often tend to take for granted – such as a carefree night out on the town, or perhaps an evening bar-hopping on a boat to some of your favorite waterfront restaurants and watering holes. While the future lives in a formidable cloud, there certainly is light ahead. Our dreams and plans may have been temporarily sidelined but they shine through the proverbial fog in front of us like a lighthouse beckoning us back home. Soon we will be on the shores again.
Regardless of the year you’ve had, the new year presents an opportunity to reflect on the past and learn from it. Even at the end of such a trying year, we owe it to ourselves not to rest on our laurels but rather put forth an effort to try new things and develop new skills. As a Covid-friendly outdoor activity with a range of therapeutic benefits, boating was one of the bright spots last year, and is poised to remain that way for many new boaters and boat owners who have recently flocked to the water. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of (achievable) resolutions, to ensure that 2021 is as varied, active, and as environmentally-friendly as possible!
Spend More Time on the Water (Obviously)
2021 will likely be another turbulent year. It’s vital to invest time in protecting yourself and your mental health. As previously mentioned, research has shown that boating has a range of benefits, including reducing stress and increasing creativity. Spending more time on the water can boost your serotonin and dopamine levels, and reduce harmful cortisol which causes stress, allowing you to rebuild your mental defences against whatever 2021 has to throw at you. Perhaps make a trip out onto the waves part of your weekly routine?
Eliminate Single-Use Plastics
More than 8 million tons of discarded plastic end up in our oceans every year. This is a solvable problem that boaters can help address in a big way. Investing in metal or reusable thermoses and takeaway mugs, lunchboxes and metal/bamboo straws can help protect our oceans and waterways greatly by reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the water. With boating surging, this issue is even more timely. So if you haven’t already, now is the time to eliminate plastic bottles from your boat entirely and join this growing movement.
Join Boat Trader’s #CleanWake Challenge
In 2020, Boat Trader launched our #CleanWake Instagram challenge to push for awareness of marine pollution, and inspire seafarers to do their bit to clean up the ocean. Across the country boaters have joined on to share how they’re reducing their own marine debris as well as helping to pick up trash on the water. We all know there’s a lot of trash talk on social media – but this grassroots-style awareness campaign puts a positive spin on that term, encouraging boaters to “talk trash” and share stories. Plus those who post and re-share have the chance to be rewarded with cool boating gear – and who doesn’t like free swag! Why not join the challenge, and Instagram popst or tweet a litter-picking session?
Take a Flexcation or #workfromhelm
While we’ve all experienced zoom fatigue this year, take advantage of being able to work remotely from anywhere and consider a flexcation – that’s a vacation where you combine work and play, bringing your laptop so that you can work or study from your holiday home. And if you’re lucky enough to have a wifi-connected boat, you can take a leaf out of YachtWorld’s book and #workfromhelm. There are lots of mental benefits and perks to working remotely on a boat so make sure that you’re surfing the web while you’re surfing the waves.
On the other end of the spectrum from working remotely on your boat – you could take a trip where you leave your phone at home entirely. Of course, it’s best to do this on a familiar route for safety reasons – but just a few hours switched off from the demands of family and work should go a long way towards rejuvenating your mind.
Seek Adventure – Take a Long-Distance Cruising Trip
Many of us have missed taking a trip abroad during 2020. But lockdowns shouldn’t necessarily prevent you from seeking adventure. If restrictions in your area allow for it (which many do), packing up and cruising away on a cabin cruiser, catamaran or pocket yacht to a location you’ve never been before could be a COVID-friendly way of injecting a little excitement into your life. Check out our guide to some of the best Five Affordable Trawlers Under 40 Feet for some vessel inspiration for these purposes.
Join Gym Marine’s Green Wings Challenge
If you’re a Marine industry professional, Gym Marine has started an admirable initiative to encourage industry leaders to offset their carbon footprint. You send them your company information, and details of your air travel and they will calculate your carbon footprint for you. You can find out more information on how you can get involved here.
Learn to Do Something New on Your Boat
If you’ve gotten stuck into a routine on your boat – same old route, same old activities – why not try something new? If you usually stick to sailing, perhaps 2021 is the year that you pick up fishing? If you’re traditionally a chilled cruiser, why not try out high-speed racing? And for an activity you can learn on land and sea, learning how to tie knots is a fun way to pass the time, which also happens to be incredibly useful. When the weather is a little warmer, here are six ways you can have fun on board your boat. Being at sea is an inspiring setting for a range of activities, and trying something new onboard could make you see your boat in a whole new light.
Clean Your Boat!
This one is a little less fun, but if you’re on lockdown or remaining socially-distant, this could be the ideal time to have a spring-clean or to do those dull maintenance tasks you’ve been putting off. Giving your vessel a deep-clean now will mean that it’s spick and span, and ready for a spring or summer adventure.
Refresh Your Memory of Boating Best Practice
Whether you’ve boated for years or have recently purchased your very first boat, it’s important to protect your investment, as well as your passengers, yourself and the environment that we all enjoy. Read Boat Trader’s series of Boating Best Practice for your boat and your environment. Start off by learning about how to deal with shallow water boating.
Start a Cruising Log
While we’ve all heard the term ‘unprecedented times’ bandied about far too often these days, we are indeed living through an intensely turbulent period. Why not start a record of your activities, or your travels onboard your boat? Being at sea provides the perfect, meditative backdrop for writing down your thoughts and feelings, and your grandchildren may thank you for them someday.