Houseboating's Healthcare Reform

Published online: Jul 25, 2014 Feature Brady L. Kay
Viewed 491 time(s)

Let me put your minds at ease; I have no plans to lobby in Washington. However, I would like to share a health reform idea with our elected representatives and the inside-the-beltway crowd. What I’m about to tell you has been a boating secret for years, but I feel it’s time we let the rest of the world in on it.

Are you sitting down? Are you ready for this earth-shattering news? Boaters are healthier. Now I realize there are people who will question me on this. Every one of us has known individual boaters who were not careful, such as those who venture out of their slips during a hurricane or manage to get their fingers smashed between the boat and the dock while trying to get gas.

But don’t be too quick to judge, because the non-boating world has its reckless types too. For example, the non-insured motorcycle rider without a helmet who crashes while weaving in and out of traffic well above the posted speed limit. Yes, as individuals you can make a case for either side when it comes to the “who is healthier” debate, but as a group, boaters report they are healthier than other Americans.

A recent online survey of 542 boat owners and 536 non-boat owners conducted by Impulse Research Corporation for the boating industry backs me up. It turns out that boat owners rated their overall well-being, health, work, leisure, sleep and finances as “very good” or “excellent.” They also reported higher levels of satisfaction in marriage and romance than non-boaters. They even reported being taller and better looking. Okay, so I made that last part up just to make sure you were still paying attention. The point is, these are the kinds of people the insurance companies love.

Conversely, non-boaters told researchers they felt “useless, lonely, unhappy and fatigued.” Yikes. I’m thinking they must have polled some congressmen who lost touch with their constituents or failed to attract sufficient “likes” on Facebook.

Studies suggest that children of boaters are healthier, too. Another boating industry survey showed that kids who boat were healthier physically and psychologically. They were more outgoing, more optimistic, more self-confident, more likely to be team players and more likely to be peer group leaders. The research also showed that boating kids have more interests and regularly participate in twice as many activities compared to non-boating kids.

And here’s another not so secret, secret. Boating children spend more quality time with parents, even in non-boating months. So what does all of this mean? It means that I know how Congress can make Americans healthier: give every person a houseboat. In place of a health care bill that few have read and nobody can understand, how about a simple houseboat voucher program that puts Americans on the road (or in this case the water) to good health? The program will probably save money too, not that money is a consideration in DC. but if it is, they could just call it a stimulus.

Houseboat vouchers will be better than cash for clunkers, cash for appliances, and cash for coiffures. Americans will feel great, there will be fewer cars on the road, houseboat manufacturers will enjoy the upswing in business and there will be no need to pull the plug on grandma. A whole country full of happy houseboaters is everything our congress people could hope for, particularly when they are faced with a complicated issue like healthcare. This could be a win/win for all. All we need is a slick name and let the social media types have at it. 

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