Sailing and Boating for Senior Living in Ocean County, NJ
“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
― Jacques Yves Cousteau
The sea has inspired people for centuries. But even though it’s easy to wax lyrical about life at sea, the smell of the water, or the way the sun sets on the water’s edge, it isn’t always fun and games. You are at nature’s mercy and she is untamable. So why do people exchange the comfort of a warm and dry bed for often torturous waves?
As a senior living in Ocean County, NJ, you are close to some of the most popular destinations for recreational boating. Barnegat 67 is a fantastic location for those who love to be on the water!
Nature is good medicine
Even though it might sound like a cliché or a ploy to rush you out of the physician’s office, simply going for a walk is one of the best medicines for seniors. Psychologists have tried to explain why – even before you move a muscle – being in natural spaces cheers you up. There are studies that have shown that by simply looking at pictures of nature, you can improve your mood.
Do you know what the common triggers for those mood shifts are? They are flowers, trees, sunrises, mountains, and water. All of which you can experience in abundance as a senior living in Ocean County, NJ. Add the recommended 30 minutes of activity a day, and in return, enjoy reduced stress levels, improved cognitive function, and overall-wellbeing.
Getting out on a boat has a similar benefit to walking in nature. You absorb the sunshine and sea air. And, on a boat, you’ll need to balance yourself because of the water’s motion and work different muscles in all manner of ways throughout your trip. The combination of mental alertness and physical activity in a gorgeous natural playground is the best kind of medicine—just what the doctor ordered.
The many perks of sailing and boating
It’s a fun hobby
Sailing and boating are wonderful pastimes that can break up the mundanity of a day or week. Getting out on the sea offers magical moments that quicken the senses. It is therefore a great hobby that adds pleasure to your routine.
It offers a unique form of escape
If you crave an intimate gathering with family or friends—or just some time away —boating allows you to cruise until you find the spot that is just right for you and your boat. Compared to other modes of travel, it’s about the easiest way to find solitude without having to go far in search of some deserted place. It might just be the change of pace you need.
There’s so much to explore
Depending on how far you want to go, every day on the water can be a new adventure. If you are a senior living in Ocean County, NJ, it would be a shame to waste the opportunity. The County’s coastline is dotted with spectacular views, creeks, inlets, offshoot Islands, and you get to enjoy these sights for yourself.
It is never too late to learn
Where do you start if you want to learn your way around a boat? Thankfully, Ocean County has many sailing schools, clubs, and programs where you can learn the basics of reading winds, hoisting sails, cruising comfortably in the water. You can get lessons that are personalized to your taste and even take advanced skipper courses. These schools often cater to all ages and provide a new community where you can socialize and make new friends.
You don’t have to own your own boat
When it comes to boating/sailing it’s not all or nothing. You don’t even have to commit to purchasing any expensive gear. Simply test the waters by enjoying a chartered cruise and watching the skipper navigate and ask for pointers. In other arrangements, you decide how little or much you want to participate. You can help out the crew raising the mainsail, taking the wheel, or trimming the jib. After many hands-on sessions, when you have reached the required competence levels, you can rent a boat by the week, the day, even down to the hour. Feel free to tailor your boating to your level of interest.
Sailing for seniors: things to consider
Sailing is such a broad term. Whether it’s a short day trip in the most pleasant weather or months to years crossing oceans and facing all kinds of situations, sailing can mean different things to people.
Definitions aside, anybody who gets on a boat must be prepared and take every precaution to keep safe and avoid mishaps with other vessels sharing the waterways. And because advancing in years can invite some complications, seniors looking to add sailing to their activities should consider the following:
Vision and hearing
Over time, our senses naturally fade. It’s important to come to terms with how far yours could have deteriorated before heading out on the water. Sailors need to hear and communicate clearly with the Coast Guard and other boats using VHF radio. If this might be an issue, it’s sensible to bring good company along to act as your ears. Water-resistant hearing aids are a plus.
If you rely on glasses for your eyesight, a lanyard that keeps it in place is essential due to the turbulent ways of the sea. Even a strong gust of wind can knock it right off. It might be best to avoid bad weather and solitary journeys.
State of health
A major health scare can be devastating when the closest ambulance is miles away. So if you suffer from conditions like heart disease or diabetes, long-distance cruising is not advised. A condition well managed by the appropriate medication should not deter an eager sailor (under medical advice). Just remember to bring everything you’ll need to remain comfortable. And perhaps also avoid long distances. Once again, fellow crew members can add more confidence to your journey.
Experience vs technology
Handling the rigging of a small boat in good weather is not a tall order if you are experienced and in decent shape. Modern boats are lighter, have smoother controls, and in general are more manageable than, say, 30-year old boats. Bigger boats feature motorized winches to reduce the effort to command them or sails that raise or lower at the push of a button. Depending on your wallet, of course, you might not even have to touch a rope throughout your trip. However, no amount of new gadgets can make up for not knowing what you are doing, especially when the weather takes a turn.
Sailing in Barnegat
When was the last time you breathed deeply and sat in wonder at what befell your eyes? As a senior living in Ocean County, NJ, time on the water might be the answer.
And if you want to spend more time on the water, Barnegat Bay is the perfect course to grow your sea legs. With several creeks and rivers feeding into it, there are lots to see and experience. Although 42 miles long, there are some restricted zones for different types of boats and some no-sail zones. The bay is mostly narrow, ranging between 1.2 to 3.7 miles wide. It’s also not very deep –only five feet deep in most areas—so deep-draft sailboats are not suitable there.
The bay is surrounded by the Manasquan inlet, the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), and the Barnegat Inlet. Heading south, you’ll get a glimpse of all manner of wildlife, thanks to the barrier island separating the bay from the Atlantic. Spot peregrine falcons, ospreys, ducks, seagulls, and herons amongst others in the wildlife refuge and state park. Find anchorage behind the islands in the creeks and full-service marinas. Enjoy the dock and dine restaurants.
Northward, the Manasquan River offers the most peaceful waters. Access from the bay is through the Manasquan inlet. The current after the inlet is quite swift in the Point Pleasant canal and there are no-wake zones. The Bay Head Harbor, however, offers good anchorage with depths from 4 to 9 feet. Towards Toms River with the most freshwater flows, the channel widens beneath the bridge and most of the area is 7 to 9 feet deep.
The bay does get crowded and noisy on summer weekends. Not the solitude you may have hoped for, but Monday comes along and locals get their space back once again. For a weekend reprieve, Point Pleasant offers relative quiet.
If you’re a senior living in Ocean County, NJ, a truly immersive experience exists right on your doorstep. Barnegat 67 has access to great boating areas.
Think you are too old for sailing?
You probably are not in most cases. Sailors continue well into their golden years, some up to 90 years old. Sailing offers all the benefits plus the fun of actually going somewhere interesting on your journey. It keeps you fit mentally and physically. If you are in decent shape, your age should not be a factor when you are sensible about what you can manage.
So whether you are a sailing veteran or completely new to boating, you are welcome to the sport. Be safe, be prepared, and enjoy your time at sea!