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Christmas should remind us of boating’s best

If nothing else, the Christmas season means trips to the mall and gifts galore. But the real gift of Christmas is the time spent with family and friends. Interestingly, when we speak of family and friends, it quickly reminds me of the true value we in the boating business provide to hundreds of thousands of our customers. But, I don’t mean the boat . . . rather, what the boat engenders.

When you stop and think about it, boating seems to insist it be done in the company of others, namely family and friends. “It's about a common purpose, about strengthening relationships, about forging shared memories that can last a lifetime,” relates Barb Hansen, manager at Southwest Florida Yacht Charters in Ft. Myers, Fla. “Boating is all about relationship building and that’s the main reason why I believe boating is the best possible gift."

We already know there’s a high correlation between boating and happiness. Not long ago, you’ll recall, NMMA sponsored a study that concluded boaters are happier people than non-boaters. Surely one key reason is that when boaters are boating, they’re doing it with people they care about. I can’t imagine inviting people I don’t like for a day on my boat!

And, of course, we all know the moment we cast off from the dock we’re seemingly miles away, mentally and physically, from those everyday stresses and workaday burdens. Let’s face it; being on the boat is the great escape! But just as important, Hansen points out, is that after a cruise, or even just a day on the boat, is over and you’re back doing whatever you do, the memories you made are always with you, to be recalled at will.

As evidence, tonight our children will arrive here from Chicago for Christmas. Since we’re fortunate enough to be living in Florida these days, tomorrow evening we will all cruise the boat up the Intercoastal Waterway, take in the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations on many of the waterside homes, and stop for dinner at a great dockside restaurant.

Just like Hansen says: we’re going to make some memories with our kids and grandchildren. And, isn’t that exactly what we in this boating industry make happen for so many all the time?

Merry Christmas to all.

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