The summer is about half-gone and we just realized something: our friends with a boat have not invited us out for a cocktail cruise like they used to do every summer.

Hmmm…was it something we said? 

Nope. It’s the Year of the Pandemic, and everyone has changed their behavior. For good reason.

But just because boating has become a little less social this year, since we’re all trying hard to maintain social distancing, doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy all the benefits of boating.

We’ve written before about the healthful benefits of getting out on the water: fresh air and sunshine are wonderful for both the body and the mind and any kind of recreational activity helps reduce stress and tension and builds stronger familial relationships. All good things.

It’s just that this year, it’s responsible to only invite aboard close family, and probably a good idea to avoid crowded beaches or sandbars and the practice of rafting a bunch of boats together for some party time in the sun.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t take the family out for a spin around the Bay, or venture out into the Atlantic for a little fishing. And there are other boating activities you can do that don’t involve other people.

Build your boating skills

Maybe you’ve been thinking about taking an online course on seamanship or other boating skills. There’s a free online course on Boating Safety from You can select the course offered by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries here

Learn something new

Always wanted to learn all the different marine knots? Now’s a good time for a refresher course. The American Sailing Association offers how-to videos on nine popular and useful knots. Check it out here.

Add navigation skills

The BoatUS Foundation and the U.S. Coast Guard offer an online, self-study course on navigational skills for pleasure boaters. You will learn the basics of plotting, reading charts, identifying ATONs and using them to find your way on the water as well as an introduction to electronic navigation all presented online where you can study at your own pace. This is the only navigation course to be completely vetted by the US Coast Guard Navigation Center. For details, click here.

Of course, you can also do a complete stem-to-stern cleaning and overhaul of your boat, but, frankly, that doesn’t sound like as much fun. Even if you drag the kids into the project! 

Boats are made for fun, and boating is good for you in so many ways. So get out there and enjoy the rest of the summer!