BlogJanuary 2024

The 7 Health Benefits of Boating

The 7 Health Benefits of Boating

By Jeff Bogle

Jan 24, 2024

From reducing stress to reconnecting with nature and boosting vitamin D to bonding with friends, discover the many health benefits of boating.

Boating is nearly a $60 billion dollar industry in America with almost 12 million registered boaters in the country! So clearly, lots of people from coast to coast enjoy boating all year long. And there are a variety of reasons why boating is so great! From logistical and essential transportation to helping us forge long-lasting memories with family and friends, and fun summertime recreation to the many health benefits of boating, there’s something magical and momentous about being out on the water.

That’s right, while your mind may immediately go to boating and family time when you see a lake or river, there are both mental health benefits of boating and physical health benefits of boating too! It’s true! Because of the physicality involved in boating and the reality of boating and stress relief, boating can boost your mental and physical health in ways that you might not expect. This means there are even more reasons for you to dedicate quality time to being on the water whenever you get the chance! Check out these 7 health benefits of boating.

1. Decrease Stress

Work, school, laundry, grocery shopping, scooping the cat litter, and other everyday responsibilities can load a lot of stress onto your mind. While the idea of “getting away from it” can be a cliche, the mental health benefits of boating are very real! Being on a boat or fishing from a kayak can decrease your stress level and reduce tension in your mind and body.

2. Reduce Anxiety

The health benefits of boating become clear even if you only have an hour to spend on the water in a canoe or kayak. Boating can reduce anxiety and have positive benefits for your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and so much more.


3. Boost Vitamin D

Of course, you can’t experience a boost in vitamin D simply by being on a boat but when you push out from the dock on a sunny day, your body starts to synthesize vitamin D and that can help to strengthen bones and increase your ability to absorb phosphorus and calcium, two important minerals! That said, don’t forget to lather up before you go boating and reapply a high-SPF sunscreen to stay safe from the sun all day long!

4. Boating and Social Interaction

Having people you love and care about around you is a great way to improve your mental health and wellbeing. This is true on land and on a boat. We now have a better grasp of how devastating and dangerous loneliness can be for a human being, including leading to depression and heart disease, so it is important that boating and social interaction go hand in hand. You can focus on boating and family time during a vacation with your kids or rent a pontoon and invite your best friends and co-workers to enjoy a day on the water with food, beverages, good music, and a lot of water toys for swimming around the boat. You’ll feel a deeper connection to people, laugh and smile, and in the process, the loneliness you may suffer from time to time will sink to the bottom of the proverbial ocean!

5. Physical Activity

Whether you’re just learning how to kayak and are calmly working your way across a placid lake on a beautiful morning, or tying up a pontoon boat to a dock, boating and exercise are as intrinsically linked together as boating and fresh air! One of the physical health benefits of boating is the sheer muscle movement required to drive, dock, and maintain a boat, and paddle, canoe, and haul your personal watercraft into and out of the water. You’ll get a workout at the same time as enjoying nature and feeling the stress of your everyday life evaporate.


6. Experience Nature

Birds chirping, dragonflies swirling, and the leaves on the trees rustling in the breeze — one of the health benefits of boating is that boating and wellbeing are both being enjoyed simultaneously while you are on and around the water! Nature can help heal us and there’s no better way to enjoy nature than from the water on a boat!

7. Science Doesn’t Lie

Do you know that about 60% of the human body is made up of water? It’s true and water is also a part of our long history because our primordial ancestors crawled or swam out of oceans many millennia ago. Science is real and it has been observed that the mere sight and sound of water can deliver feelings of calm and relaxation, further proving the health benefits of boating today. So what are you waiting for? Make a plan to go boating!


Before you head out on the water, make sure you read up on boating safety to ensure that you and the ones you love are safe.

Jeff Bogle
Jeff Bogle
Jeff is a dad of teen daughters, avid traveler, photographer, and freelance writer. He’s penned stories on family travel, outdoor recreation, the environment, parenting, and more for Fodor’s, Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, Good Housekeeping, PBS, and Esquire, among other publications. Find him on his blog, and on Instagram @OWTK. Jeff is also the publisher of the quarterly literary zine, Stanchion