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(BPT) - Itching to get on the water and have some fun this summer? Whether it’s fishing, sailing, cruising or watersports, they’re easier and more accessible than many think. Even better? Boating is one surefire way to make every summer weekend feel like a vacation close to home.
Boating is a popular American pastime, with an estimated 88.5 million Americans getting on the water each year, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. What’s more, boating is close to home with 90 percent of Americans living within an hour’s drive of a lake, river or ocean perfect for boating.
"The reality is there's a boat for every budget and for boaters, being on the water creates priceless experiences - whether it’s fishing, watersports, sailing, personal watercraft or cruising, spending time on the water with family and friends creates memories for a lifetime," says Carl Blackwell, president of Discover Boating. "Being an avid boater, I know how accessible it can be and how important it is to do your research to figure out what kind of boat fits your budget and lifestyle. One of the best kept secrets is how to get on the water without owning a boat - consider it research since it gets you on your way to becoming a boater before you own one."
DiscoverBoating.com has four budget-friendly ways to get your feet wet this summer:
* Join the club: Boat clubs are one of the best ways to experience the boating lifestyle. There are thousands of boating clubs and organizations across the U.S. that offer everything from sailing to powerboating and watersports. Members receive access to a fleet of boats for use, plus clubs usually provide maintenance, storage and boating education. Find a club near you using the boat club finder.
* Get schooled: Boating schools and courses are a great way to take the helm and learn the rules of the water. Hone your sailing or powerboating skills by learning the basics in boat operation and have fun in the process. Check out a list of courses and find one that floats your boat close to home.
* Test the waters: Rental options have come a long way with hourly or daily rentals to peer-to-peer options making boating even more accessible. Boat renters can now rent directly through boat owners, creating an affordable way to use privately-owned boats equipped with amenities from insurance to boating education. Another popular option is fractional ownership, similar to lodging timeshares, where members can pre-schedule use of the boat online, and week-long charters that let you fully experience the boating lifestyle.
Climb aboard: Looking to captain your own vessel? There’s a boat out there for every budget, interest and body of water. Use the Discover Boating boat selector tool to narrow down the search for everything from price to number of passengers to boating activities and more. The tool matches you with boats that fit your needs, so you can do your homework and have a head start on shopping.
This spring and summer, don’t get left on the dock and take advantage of the warmer weather aboard a boat. Whether curious about boating or looking into ownership, explore opportunities to get your feet wet and experience the fun of life on the water.
(BPT) - Summer temperatures can be notoriously hard on your car. Whether it’s a summer road trip or your daily commute to work, you could potentially find yourself stranded on the side of the road with an overheated engine or driving with no air conditioning. While you can’t prevent normal wear and tear on your vehicle, it is possible to take preventive measures to protect your car from unfortunate and inconvenient break downs. Here are some simple maintenance tips for you to keep your car cool before the temperatures get any higher.
Check the air conditioning (AC) – Ideally you should have the air conditioning in your vehicle checked before the warmer months begin but chances are you didn’t notice your AC wasn’t blowing cold air until you turned it on for the first time. The key to keeping your AC working correctly is to ensure all the components are working and there are no leaks. These components include the compressor, condenser, evaporator, pressurized refrigerant, valves and hoses. Have your system inspected and make sure your technician or mechanic is trained and certified in diagnosing and repairing air conditioning systems. He or she should be looking for worn seals and o-rings, loose fittings, cracked or damaged belts and connections.
Refresh the fluids – Whether it’s a summer refresh or you’re getting the car out of storage for the first time this season, be sure to change the oil and the filter before you head out on the road. You should also and check other fluids such as transmission, steering, coolant and brake fluid that may either need replacement or topped off.
Keeping it cool – If you haven’t checked your coolant levels recently, the general rule is to flush the radiator and add new coolant at least every two years. Consider using a radiator coolant additive, like Royal Purple’s Purple Ice, during hotter months. The high-performance radiator conditioner can be used with anti-freeze or straight water. Using Purple Ice will prevent overheating, keep the system clean and extend the life of the water pump.
Taking these simple steps to make sure your vehicle is in good working order during the hot summer months will allow you to enjoy your ride instead of sweating it out on the side of the road.