Florida Boating

Saturday, August 18, 2012


By Barb Hansen
January, 2012

Are you feeling down? Lethargic? Perhaps your bathroom scale points slightly toward the high side?

You may be suffering from SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD commonly affects millions of people in northern climates in the late fall and winter. Days are shorter. The sun doesn't shine much, if at all. Your body doesn't produce the melatonin it needs to feel right.

Last year Farmer's Almanac identified the five worst winter weather cities: Cleveland, Detroit, Duluth, Syracuse and Casper, Wyoming. Years ago I heard about a town in the upper Midwest that went six weeks into a new year before the sun made a brief appearance.
Here in southwest Florida, where work's winter uniform consists of shorts and a boating shirt, this is the time of the year when I have to remind myself not to phone friends up north and brag about our pleasant weather, especially not when they're getting cold fronts and not much sunshine. They're already sad enough.

Fortunately, medical science has prescribed a regimen for SAD. It includes light, fresh air and cognitive therapy. Collectively this is known as Cruising in Florida. In Florida, light therapy is automatic. After all, Florida is the sunshine state. Florida is practically synonymous with fresh air. Boating supplies the cognitive therapy.

At the end of a satisfying day of cruising in paradise and exploring Sanibel and its neighboring islands you'll be sitting up on the fly bridge watching the sun set beautifully over a scene that might include roseate spoonbills, herons, egrets and wood storks feeding on a flat at low tide.

Are you still depressed? I don't think so.

Now I should mention that from time to time our prescription is not strong enough for severe cases of the blahs. In these cases, we prescribe another natural pill labeled Attitude Adjustment. Our kit of supplies for students at Florida Sailing & Cruising School includes a bumper sticker -- Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure. Vic and I adopted it after we heard more than a few students say things like, “What if it rains?” Actually, it rarely rains in Florida in the winter but we just tell them, “Oh, we don’t charge extra for that.”

Not much was known about SAD back in 1984 when Vic and I started Southwest Florida Yachts. But, born and raised Midwesterners, we instinctively knew that helping people cruise in Florida was the ideal therapy for the sun-deprived.

For more than 100 years winter vacations in Florida's sunshine have been the natural pill that people from the north have ingested for SAD. Alas, I fear that a lot of northern state boaters still haven't learned this valuable lesson. They do not have to be trapped by the weather or sloppy thinking. While their harbors are iced up and their boats are wrapped in tarps, they can still tend to their boating addiction and their medical issue in a meaningful way.

Hey. Don't be sad. Get out of there. Fly to Fort Myers. We'll get your boat ready.


Post a Comment

<< Home