Editor's Note: In honor of National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW), boats.com will be rerunning some of our favorite articles about boating fundamentals. If you're new to the scene, or just thinking about jumping in, this is the place to be; we'll arm you with all the info you need to find the perfect adventure, choose the right gear, know the ropes, and get out there on the water. This story was originally published on boats.com in May 2015.
We boaters are adventurous types, and whether you’re following in Magellan’s footsteps or blazing new trails of your own (read Boating Fun: 10 Waterborne Activities You and Your Family Can Enjoy this Spring or 7 Wacky Ways to Have Fun on a Boat to get some non-traditional ideas on just what sort of craziness you might enjoy), now that it’s summer we’re aching for some new adventures. Are you ready to go where no man has gone before? Soar across the water's surface like a flying fish? Feed your need for speed until your eyes bleed? Then jump onboard for one of these five extreme boating adventures—after making sure your insurance is paid up.
1. Joust with JAWS
If fighting with one of nature’s apex predators doesn’t get your heart pumping, nothing will. So head through the inlet with a bucket of chum, some stout fishing rods, heavy wire leaders, and a camera to record the event. Sharks are prolific along all of America’s coastlines (Great Lakes excluded—except for Detroit area pawn shops, of course), and are usually willing to bite all summer long. Depending on where you’re located you’ll commonly encounter species like blue, hammerhead, sharp-nose, spinner, thresher, dusky, and bonnet-head sharks, and you may even luck into the magnificent mako. Note: If you spot a great white, get your hook out of the water; they’re federally protected. For some pointers on how to hook up with sharks, read Shark Fishing: A Boating Adventure with a Sure-Fire Adrenaline Jolt.
2. Become One with the Wind
A sailboat may make you feel connected to the raw power of the wind and seas, but kite surfing allows you to plug directly into nature’s own 240-volt outlet. Kite surfing does, of course, take some preparation and knowledge. So we don’t suggest you just go out and buy the gear and head for the harbor. A much better idea is to sign up for some kite surfing classes, which are available all across the nation (there are 14 kite surfing schools in Florida alone). A quick visit to Kitesurfing School.org will get you all the contact info you need to prepare yourself for a combined sailing/surfing experience unlike any you’ve had before.
3. Explore the Everglades
Do you like the idea of camping with crocodiles? Sleeping with snakes? Getting lost in a myriad of uncharted mangrove swamp creeks and channels? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we can only ask: what’s wrong with you? But at least you aren’t alone in your deviant desires. As it turns out, exploring the Everglades by boat is quite a popular adventure. We were blown away by author Jeff Hemmel’s story, The Waterway Less Traveled: Exploring the Everglades By Boat. If you think you’d like to experience a trip to the largest sub-tropic wilderness in the United States, you can learn about “chikees” (camp-sites elevated over the water), the Wilderness Waterway (99 miles long, from the Gulf Coast to Flamingo), and park regulations by visiting the Backcountry Camping page at the National Park Service web site.
4. Venture into Inner Space
You spend plenty of time riding across the water’s surface, but diving beneath it—and staying there for a while—is a completely different story. You can book submarine tours in many areas throughout the world, though you probably will have to travel a bit. Atlantis Adventures has 48 and 64 passenger subs operating in several islands of the Caribbean, Hawaii, Guam, and Cozumel. The Roatan Institute of Deepsea Exploration offers deep-diving tours (down to 2,000 feet) in Honduras. And Submarine Safaris will take you down into the watery world of the Canary Islands. But, why stop there? If you have a few extra hundred thou laying around, you might as well go buy your own submarine. We found one, the aHqua20, that can give you several hours of running-time down to depths of 60 feet.
5. Hit Warp Speed in a Boat
If you’ve ever gone 60 or 70 MPH in a boat, you know that it seems awful fast. In fact, it can even be a little bit scary—which is a good thing, since we’re out for an adrenaline-pumping experience. And there are speed boat tours across the nation, which will fulfill your need for speed for little more than the cost of going to the movies.
For you real speed freaks, however, highway speeds simply won’t be fast enough. Maybe you’ll want to buy your own speed boat, and maybe you think driving it at 100, 120, or even 180 or more MPH would be a real rush. We agree, it will be one heck of an adventure. But you can’t just jump behind the wheel of a turbine-powered catamaran and start going warp speed—at least you can’t without risking life and limb, not to mention dropping a few mil on that super-cat. That’s where speed-schools come in.
If you’re going to buy your own speed boat you can attend a school like the Tres Martin Performance Boating School, which Matt Trulio told us about in the article How to Learn Fast-Boat Driving Skills, Fast. If spending big bucks isn’t in your plan, you can attend the American Powerboat Association’s official APBA Driving Schools. They’re held in various locations throughout the year, and you’ll get safety training, classroom training, and on-the-water high-speed runs—behind the wheel of somebody else's speed boat.
Want to read about some of the summer adventures boats.com readers and staffers have experienced? Check out:
- What's it Like to Ride on a Volvo 65
- Paradise Revisited: Back in the BVI
- Laura Dekker Interview: A Maidentrip Around the World
- Dorade Log 7: Newport to Bermuda Ocean Race Video Takes You Onboard
- A Taste of a Charter in Turkey