The Massachusetts Marine Trades Association had more than 5,000 children participate in its expanded Kids Boating Day events this year.
The initiative, designed to promote boating and fishing to kids, lasted June 2-10 versus one day during its inaugural year in 2017. There were four registered events last year and around 2,500 attendees
This year’s events, which coincided with Great Outdoors Month and National Fishing and Boating Week, featured eight registered events around the state: Touch a Boat events in Newburyport, Hingham, Charlestown, Nantucket and South Hadley; a lakeside event in Webster; and youth fishing tournaments in Newburyport and Foxboro.
Event activities included: boat trips, boat tours, fishing tournaments and demos, kid-friendly vendor tables, critter cruise, games, arts and crafts, life jacket and boating safety information, diving lessons, music, roving pirates, touch tanks, tall ship tours, police, and tours of fire and Coast Guard boats.
The decision to include and promote fishing events this year was driven by the fact that almost 70 percent of boaters use their boats for fishing, and the two industries, boating and fishing, go hand in hand, said MMTA executive director Randall Lyons in a statement.
“I feel strongly that the more young people we can get involved with boating and fishing today, the more likely it will benefit our industry tomorrow,” said Lyons. “More than 70 percent of adult boaters started boating when they were kids, and the MMTA recognizes the importance of this statistic and is working hard toward the goal of getting future boaters and fishers hooked at a young age.”