(BPT) - Perusing social media or flipping through a magazine, it's common to see famous faces like George Clooney or Taylor Swift cruising around on fancy boats, but guess what? You don't have to be rich and famous to enjoy boating. Get your feet wet this summer just like the stars without breaking the bank.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association reports 71 percent of boat owners have an annual household income of less than $100,000. That means boating is more accessible than you may think - just ask the 87.3 million Americans who go boating each year.
"It's a common misperception that boating is mega yachting, but that's not the case - 95 percent of the 12 million boats on the water in the U.S. are under 26 feet in length,' says Carl Blackwell, president of Discover Boating. "Whether it's fishing, wakesurfing, sailing, riding personal watercraft or cruising - there are ways for everyone to go boating on a budget and make memories out on the water.'
Whether you're planning a vacation or looking for a new hobby close to home, Discover Boating has insider tips for getting on the water:
Test the waters:Rental options can be found on most waterways and provide access to a variety of boat types on an hourly or daily basis. Rental outfitters provide a tutorial on how to operate the boat, safety instructions and suggestions on where to go. New to market are peer-to-peer rentals that go directly through boat owners and can include captains for hire and insurance.
Enroll in boat school:Hands-on courses are an opportunity to take the helm and learn the rules of the water. Hone your sailing, powerboating or watersports skills by mastering the basics and having fun along the way. Find a school close to home with this list of boating courses on DiscoverBoating.com.
Take a nautical getaway: A popular way to experience the boating lifestyle is by chartering with family or friends. Want to explore a destination by water? Chartering a boat offers options - bareboat (with no captain) or crewed (with captain and crew), days or weeks long, destination-hopping and more. Pick your preferences and chart your course.
Learn to share: Share the fun and the budget. Fractional boat ownership, similar to lodging timeshares, can be a cost-effective way to use a variety of boats and divide expenses among a group of friends or other local boaters. Members reserve use of the boat online and have access to added benefits such as lessons, flotillas and additional crew, if interested.
Want to set sail this summer? Find your way on the water by using DiscoverBoating.com's new Get on the Water interactive tool to find boating options in your area from rentals to charters, lessons and more.