Let’s face it, people are infamous for making New Year’s Resolutions at this time of the year, and then, despite their best intentions, eventually abandoning them over the ensuing weeks and months. You want to know why? Because New Year’s Resolutions are usually boring, painful or require discipline. Things like losing weight, exercising more, or cleaning out the basement. No wonder we “tap out” after a few days of that drudgery.
Why not come up with some resolutions for 2019 that have to do with boating and fishing, which can actually be fun to do? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Spend more time on the water in 2019 — I often hear complaints from friends and colleagues that there just isn’t enough time to use their boats as much as they’d like. We all know the answer to that — make time. If this means scheduling some half-day fishing trips close to home or an evening sail instead of a weekend journey, then so be it. Maybe schedule that client meeting or presentation to the boss as a lunch cruise, where everybody will be relaxed and in a good mood.
Join a local boating or fishing club — This is a great way to meet other boaters and anglers in your region. Even when you can’t get out, you’ll stay connected to your passion during regular meetings, picnics and the like. It’s also very likely you’ll get out on the water more often aboard your boat or other club members' boats as the season winds on.
Really learn your electronics —They say people only use 10% of their brains, and I think it would be safe to say that boaters only use 10% of their electronics. Today’s radars, sonar, chart plotters and autopilots offer so many advanced features, and the typical boater barely scrapes the surface of what they can do. Dedicate some time on the water to exploring the different features and functions you have at your disposal. In particular, use your radar in daylight hours so you can really familiarize yourself with how things show up on the display while you can also see them with your own eyes.
Learn some new knots —This is a great way to spend a few hours on a cold or snowy afternoon, and come boating season you’ll amaze your friends and fishing partners with your newfound seamanship skills.
Fix all the little things —Just about every boat has its share of little maintenance items that get routinely ignored. A stripped screw here, a loose hose clamp there, patches of duct tape covering up some rips in the upholstery. Make this the year you take some pride in your ride and get all those little things taken care of. By doing so, you’ll take more enjoyment in your boat and possibly avoid having small problems turn into big ones.
Take somebody new out boating this year — Sharing your passion for boating or fishing with others — particularly somebody who is new to the sport — is a great feeling. Ask a co-worker, neighbor or family member out to spend a day on the water, and you might just make a new boating buddy for life. It’s also important for the health and future of our sport to introduce new participants — particularly young people — to spending time on the water, whether you’re fishing, cruising or sailing.
Now, get out there and resolve to have some fun!