With the wonderful waterways on offer you can understand why more that 20 percent of all Aussies engage in some form of boating annually. Almost one in five households have a boat or watercraft. Adding to the enticement is the fact that 85 percent of Australian live within 50km of the coast.
Cruising or simply messing around in boats is the obvious conclusion, however sport plays a big part of the engagement with boating. Whilst sport conjures thoughts of competition: leisure, entertainment or simply for good health dominate boating activity.
Let’s be clear, competitive boating is a real thing and much loved by many. Sailing, powerboating, water-skiing, paddling and fishing all have a big part in the world of competitive recreational boating.
For many, sailing is their entry to recreational boating. If you ask boaters about their youth, many will tell you it consisted of sailing classes and time with friends in a sailing club. Sailing is a fun, safe, accessible and affordable sport that welcomes participation from people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities.
There are many different ways to get started in sailing, with programs like Australian Sailing’s Discover Sailing program providing a range of opportunities for you to continue sailing at clubs as you develop your skills, experience and confidence.
Sailing clubs can be found on the coast, rivers and inland lakes in some spectacular locations around the country. There are nearly 400 sailing clubs around Australia with more than 60,000 registered club members and 100,000 people regularly participating in the sport.
You do not need to own a boat to enjoy sailing. There are clubs that provide boats and boat owners looking for crew. You do not need to be a member to get started in sailing because all the Discover Sailing programs are accessible for people who are not members of clubs.
Fishing is also very popular as a recreational sport. The Australian National Sports Fishing Association say that “There are about three and half million Australians who go fishing for sport and recreation every year and because we are so many, recreational and sportfishing is a huge industry; in fact one of the biggest industries in the country and one of the biggest single outdoor participatory sports and recreation”. This is unsurprising with visitors to boating events around the country saying that fishing is one of the primary reasons they go boating.
For those with a little more energy and a focus on heath as an interest, paddling and kayaking have seen the sport using non-powered vessels boom over the last 10 years. Stand up Paddle Boards (SUPs) and kayaking has become a very popular way to keep fit and to connect with the environment and nature.
No matter your gender, age or level of mobility, there is something for everyone when it comes to boating.
Boating and the joys and benefits associated with it are being celebrated Australia wide during National Boating Week.
Fittingly, the week will occur alongside with National Safe Boating Week organised and delivered by the Australia New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG). Today the focus is on educating the boating public to understand that safe boating means carrying the right safety equipment. You will need different items depending on your vessel type and whether you’re in open or enclosed waters. Find out more at www.amsa.gov.au/national-safe-boating-week
People looking for more information are invited to visit DiscoverBoating.com.au or search for Discover Boating Australia on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube & Twitter.