How to get your family into water sports with Maureen Dennis
Many of us are drawn to water – it soothes, calms, provides entertainment and even teaches life lessons. Our family loves our time on the water every summer and over the years, have become a sailing family. Now, I am a huge advocate for other families to also give it (or something new to you) a try.
My husband and I bought our first sailboat just after getting married, and this is where our love of the water began. We loved spending lazy days on the lake together, or nights watching the fireworks with friends. When we later added kids to the mix, our little boat was suddenly very full. Our own love of boating eventually inspired us to enroll all four kids (now ages 14, 12, nine and six) into a local sail camp.
Canadians from coast-to-coast have plenty of access to water sports, but not everyone knows how to get started or where to begin. On top of that, when I tell people that all four of my kids are sailing, many don’t believe that these activities are much more financially accessible than one might think. The truth is, when you first start out in most water sports, you really don’t need much other than a swimsuit, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a good life jacket!
After the first few years of sailing, our oldest son excelled and wanted to join the local race team. When you get into competitive sailing you need to have your own boat. Before we made the investment, we needed to make sure he was truly serious about the commitment, and agreed he would have to earn half the cost of a used Optimist boason excelled and wanted to join the local race team. When you get into competitive sailing you need to have your own boat. Before we made the investment, we needed to make sure he was truly serious about the commitment, and agreed he would have to earn half the cost of a used Optimist boat – the introductory boat he would need – himself.
He did every chore he could think of for the next year to finally save enough for his half, and so our search for an Optimist began. Since this type of boat is so commonly used at the outset of sailing, you can easily find them second hand. I quickly posted a ‘wanted’ ad on Kijiji and within a week, received an email from a man looking to sell his son’s who just outgrew it!
This was just the beginning of our second-hand sailing purchases. Now with two more kids on the race team, we have a fleet of kids sailing boats. On top of that, there’s quite a bit of gear involved with water sports, from wetsuits to gloves, and since these items are typically only used for one season – darn, those growing kids – we’ve been very successful in buying these items second hand.
Sailing has given our kids life experiences we would never have imagined. They have sailed rivers, lakes and even oceans, all on their own. They have not only learned how to sail, but they have learned invaluable water safety skills, independence and more. Most water sports are quite simple, but they take a lifetime to master as there is always a new challenge ahead.
Whether you are six or 66, I urge people to get out on the water! And with the help of the second-hand economy, you can get there faster than you thought possible.
Learn How to Get Involved in the Second-Hand Economy!
If you’ve bought or sold used items, swapped, or donated, you’re already an active contributor!