Labor Day was invented to celebrate the American worker, and there’s no better way to celebrate than to go out on your boat. And since the holiday unofficially marks the end of the summer vacation season, there are plenty of events going on. The only question is, to make this year’s celebration better than ever, which one should you join? Here are five ideas for enjoying a great Labor Day afloat.

Poker run

In a regular race the fastest boat wins, but in a poker run, it's who gets there with the best hand.



1. Join a poker run. Many powerboating clubs hold poker runs on Labor Day to mark the end of the season. (To find out details like where and when, check out Poker Runs America.) The advantage of a poker run is that you don’t have to own the fastest boat to win; at each stop on the cruise you’ll be dealt a card, and at the end of the day, the boat with the best hand in poker wins. You can arrive dead last, yet still come in first place.

2. Watch a fireworks display from the water. There’s no better seat in the house than the one on your boat. You can almost always get closer to the action than you can on dry land, and you won’t have to deal with crowded sidewalks and bumper-to-bumper traffic jams at the end of the show. There are plenty of fireworks displays to choose from, no matter where you are. Lake Tahoe, the Knoxville waterfront, Minneapolis, New York – displays will be lighting up the sky over waterborne viewers in every corner of the country. And if you’re one of them, you’re guaranteed a great time on your boat. (For more detail about a few of our favorite locations, read Fireworks Displays: Where to Watch from a Boat.)

Our own boats.com editor Carol Cronin (seen here at the tiller) competes in regattas on Labor Day... and on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July,  and oh heck, just about any time she's not in front of the computer.

Our own boats.com editor Carol Cronin (seen here at the tiller) competes in regattas on Labor Day... and on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and oh heck, just about any time she's not in front of the computer.



3. Sail in a regatta. As summer draws to a close, sailors from coast to coast are looking to get in one more race before temperatures drop and the kids go back to school. And there’s a bonus: the changing weather often brings fresh breezes and excellent sailing conditions. From Sarasota to Annapolis (which inaugurated a new two-day Labor Day regatta just last year, put on by multiple yacht clubs) to Maine... if you’re a sailor, Labor Day has plenty in store for you.

4. Fish in a tournament. Just as the sailors celebrate the changing of the seasons with regattas, anglers hold fishing tournaments. Whether you’re an offshore guy bent on hunting down big game like marlin or a lake angler who enjoys competitive bass fishing, there’s bound to be competitive fishing going on within casting distance of your home waters over Labor Day weekend. Why not try to cap off your fishing season with a big win?

5. Ignore the holiday, and instead take a serious boating adventure. Just because the rest of the country is celebrating with fireworks, tournaments, poker runs, and regattas, no one says you have to. In fact, why not take advantage of the three day holiday weekend by choosing something new and radically different? There’s still enough time to try one of the Five Extreme Boating Adventures we proposed this past spring, or (shudder) make like editor Doug Logan and embark upon a boat maintenance adventure.

And just in case you don't find this article until long after Labor Day, and there’s already a chill in the air and snow on the ground... all is not lost. Check out these 3 Boating Getaways, and learn about some warm places you can go boating at any time of year.

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