(June 21, 2017) — As Canadians get ready to celebrate our country’s sesquicentennial on July 1st, Canada Day also marks the official kick off to summer boating season as one of the busiest weekends on the water.   According to a 2016 economic impact study by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) Canada, more the 12.4 million adults (43% of Canadians) participate in boatingeach year, with 8.6 million recreational boats owned in Canada.

Holiday long weekends are by far the most popular reason for 80 per cent of boaters to get out on the water; however, boating can also be more accessible than many think. Whether it’s an hour after work cruising, a morning of fishing or a weekend of watersports, boating provides all the benefits of a vacation “on demand” at your convenience and close to home. The top five boating activities among Canadians are fishing, entertaining, nature observation, sightseeing and swimming.

“Vacation time doesn’t need to be reserved for long trips – you can enjoy all the benefits of vacation more frequently, close to home and on your own terms when you go boating,” said Tracey Hart, marketing director of Discover Boating. “Getting out on the water allows you to disconnect from the stress on land, enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, and have fun with your friends and family.”

Whether on vacation or staycation, these insider tips from Discover Boating provide fun, stress-free ways to get on the water this summer.

Take a class. Sign up for a boating lesson to hone your powerboating, sailing or watersports skills by mastering the basics while having fun along the way. Popular options around Canada include boatingclasses, on-water training courses, watersports camps, youth boating programs and more.

Rent a boat. Rental options are available on most waterways and provide hourly or daily access to a variety of boat types. Rental outfitters should provide tutorials on operating a boat, share safety instructions and offer suggestions on destinations. Please note that a Pleasure Craft Operator Card (PCOC) is required to operate a boat. New to the mix are peer-to-peer rentals, allowing you to rent someone else’s boat, which usually includes insurance coverage and captains for hire.

Check out these Eight Tips for Renting a Boat, including downloadable rental checklists.

Share the fun. You don’t need to own a boat to join a boat club. Clubs and shared ownership programs allow you to share a boat with others, split the costs and book your time on the boat online. These clubs and programs also maintain, clean, insure and store the boats and many provide on-water training.

Float your own boat. Chart your own course to boat ownership by visiting DiscoverBoating.ca where you’ll find a boat selector and loan calculator to help you determine your boating budget and identify the different types of boats that fit your lifestyle and interests. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, the site can connect you with manufacturers whose boats best fit your needs and wants.

Find ways to get on the water by using Discover Boating’s Get on the Water tool. Just enter your postal code to find rentals, classes, boat clubs and more close to home.

Discover Boating Canada