ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The first combined National Fishing and Boating Week is set June 1-10, with national kick-off activities in Washington, DC, and hundreds of local events in communities across the country.
Events will provide opportunities for families and friends to share fun, quality time together while learning about two of our nation's favorite pastimes — recreational boating and fishing.
"Today's families are busier than ever," said Bruce Matthews, President and CEO of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. "We hope people will shut down their computers, turn off their televisions and rediscover how recreational boating and fishing offer meaningful, quality time to re-connect with family, friends, and the environment. It's hard not to relax when you are on the water."
Studies show that today's families are facing many challenges when it comes to spending time together — parents are overworked, children are overscheduled, and quality family time is a rare commodity. In fact, during the past 20 years:
- Children's playtime has declined by 25 percent and unstructured outdoor activities have declined by 50 percent;
- Family dinners have decreased by 33 percent; and
- Family vacations have decreased by 28 percent.
More than a dozen studies have shown that being with family and friends, relaxing, and being outdoors and close to nature are the primary reasons people boat and fish. Many Americans believe that outdoor recreation strengthens the family as a unit and the children as individuals. Studies also show that people who participate frequently in outdoor recreation are more satisfied with life overall.
National Fishing and Boating Week events are planned for families, children and seniors, and include fishing and boating festivals, educational events, boating demonstrations and many other hands-on activities for participants of all ages. From learning to tie knots, cast and properly release your catch, participating in these events offers an experience families can use to plan future outings.
Many Americans also see participation in outdoor recreation as one of the main reasons to protect the environment. Nearly nine in 10 Americans say outdoor recreation benefits the environment because it gives people a reason to care about natural resources.
For information about local events, log on to www.NationalFishingandBoatingWeek.org. Not only will visitors find a complete listing of events near their homes or vacation destinations, they can also find dates of state-sponsored free fishing days (no fishing license required) offered throughout the country.
National Fishing and Boating Week is a key component of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation's national awareness campaign, Water Works Wonders.
"Fishing and boating are favorite American pasttimes that promote family values and cohesiveness, as well as provide wholesome recreational outdoor activities," Matthews added. "As a component of the Water Works Wonders campaign, National Fishing and Boating Week is designed to encourage angler and boater participation by providing an opportunity to try, to learn, and to discover for themselves that boating and fishing are unmatched leisure activities for true connection with family, friends and the natural environment."