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Beating the Winter Blahs

boaters looking out front windshield
Photo - Darcy Lowrey / Pexels

The days are slowly starting to get longer, but boating season is still a long way off yet for those of us who live in colder climates. The distraction and excitement of the holidays are over, leaving us nautical folks feeling a bit aimless and even depressed.

Perhaps you’re able to get away somewhere warm to scratch that boating itch, have some maintenance items to complete, or maybe you received some items from the Boater’s Holiday Gift Guide that will occupy your time and attention over the coming months. Failing the aforementioned options, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions to help you pass the time until spring.

1) Plan a Trip

Having something to look forward to that you’re excited about is a great motivator. Now is a great time to start planning a summer excursion. Plotting a route will allow you to read others’ experiences (good or bad), set a budget, acquire the proper charts and possibly even start making the necessary reservations.

Doing the legwork during the off-season will ensure you are better prepared when the time comes to set sail.

2) Visit a Museum

The thought of visiting a museum may not get your pulse racing, but there are many fascinating ones that will appeal to the boating enthusiast. They also allow you to get out of the house and pass the time indoors when the weather is nasty outside.

Strolling around the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Muskoka Steamships and Discovery Centrein Gravenhurst, Ontario, or Vancouver Maritime Museum in British Columbia all make for a great way to spend a dreary day.

3) Plan a Purchase

Whether you’re looking to upgrade, downsize, or maybe just add to the fleet - winter can be a great time to research and evaluate your options.

4) Watch YouTube Videos

Whether your intentions are educational or strictly entertainment, the Internet is filled with boating content that ranges from test drives to helpful tips. That, and plenty of fail videos that perfectly demonstrate what not to do.

5) Improve Your Knowledge

No matter how much knowledge and experience you may have, there are always opportunities to learn more. Whether it’s navigation, meteorology, first-aid, snorkelling or scuba diving, radio broadcasting techniques or boat mechanics, adding to your existing skillset will make you a safer, more confident boater. Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons offer a wide variety of courses regardless of whether you’re a sailor or a powerboater, no matter the level of experience. Many training courses have gone online, so you have the option to learn new skills from the comfort of your own home.

6) Catch-up on Maintenance

It may be too chilly to go out on the water, but if your watercraft isn’t wrapped up for winter and is accessible, it’s not a bad time to get those pesky repairs or maintenance items off your to-do list. Particularly if you have a heated garage. That way you won’t have to waste precious time finishing those projects when the weather gets warm.

7) Attend a Boat Show

They’re back! After a long hiatus, many consumer exhibitions are returning across the country this year, including boat shows. They offer fun for the whole family and let you shop for a boat, accessories and gear all in one place. You can also attend informational sessions from experienced speakers and workshops hosted by experts on everything from knot tying to navigation and maintenance. And, if you happen to attend the Toronto International Boat Show in February, don’t forget to drop by the booth and say hello! #tips #culture

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