(ARA) - Flipping through a celebrity magazine, it's easy to spot stars on exotic getaways, enjoying the water aboard a megayacht. But, boating isn't just for the rich and famous - you don't have to be a millionaire to get out on the water.
In fact, the National Marine Manufacturers Association
reports 83 percent of American boat owners have an annual household income less than $100,000. It's a popular pastime in the U.S., as nearly 83 million Americans went boating last year, going out on their own boats or a family member or friend's boat.
"The reality is there's a boat for every budget and for boaters, being on the water creates priceless experiences - there's nothing like disconnecting from land and feeling the wind on your face," says Carl Blackwell, a boater from Chicago and president of Discover Boating. "Being an avid boater, I know how accessible it can be and how important it is to do your research so you can figure out what kind of boat fits your lifestyle and budget. One of the best kept secrets is how to get on the water without owning a boat - consider it research since it gets you on your way to becoming a boater before you own one."
Find four simple tips from DiscoverBoating.com
to enjoy the boating lifestyle before owning a boat:
Rent-a-vessel. Renting or chartering a boat is the perfect summer escape that's surprisingly easy and accessible in a variety of forms, from daily to hourly rentals or week-long charters. Be your own captain or hire one to teach you the ropes. Renting is the perfect way to compare boat types, explore local waterways and feel like a celebrity on a getaway - without breaking the bank.
Sharing the fun. Did you know you can have all the benefits of ownership, if you share? Fractional boat ownership, similar to lodging timeshares, is a cost-effective way to have access to new boats and be able to share costs among a group of friends or other local boaters. Members pre-schedule use of the boat online and often receive the added benefits of lessons, flotillas and additional crew, if needed.
Join the club. Get outside, enjoy the warm weather and join a local boating club. Thousands of boating clubs and organizations are located across the U.S. and offer everything from watersports and sailing to power boating. Clubs provide inexperienced boaters options to test the waters through access to classroom and on-water training, a fleet of boats and member events.
Find nautical pals. Boaters are a friendly group often looking to share the boating lifestyle with novices. Mingle with boaters at your local marinas, boat club events, boating courses, boat shows or even at dock-and-dine restaurants. Put your best foot forward and display good boat guest etiquette. If you offer to lend the captain a hand, bring sea-worthy snacks and chip in for fuel, you may find yourself aboard in no time.
To learn more about how to get your feet wet, you can do your research on DiscoverBoating.com
, an unbiased resource to help people get started in boating.