Why We Ride: The Health Benefits of Owning a Personal Watercraft

As commodity prices spike and inflation reaches a 40-year high, many families across the world are struggling to make ends meet. There’s a lingering Covid-19 health crisis, an ongoing war, and the global economy is teetering on a potential collapse. The thing is, none of this matters out on the water; you can deal with the weight of the world when you get back to the dock.

In a 2020 Discover Boating article, “The Science is Clear: Boating is Good for Your Health & Mind,” research is presented that supports boating’s therapeutic effects on mental and physical health. A 2018 Canadian study, for example, found that living close to a body of water lowered mortality risk by 17 percent.

University of Exeter Medical School in the UK released a study in 2019 that corroborated the Canadian findings. Researchers expressed that those who lived close to the ocean were 22 percent less likely to report signs of anxiety or depression. The study further found that the positive effects of “blue health” – interacting with a body water- were profound for lower income households.

For riders that feel a true emotional connection to the experience of owning a personal watercraft, justifying the cost of the machine, its fuel, and its maintenance is easy. Veteran and new owners alike can attest to the mental, spiritual, and physical benefits of owning a ski. Riding with family, friends, and clubs further strengthens our bond with the water and those who share it with us.

A study released by the Frontiers in Psychology in 2020 found that just ten minutes in nature “reduced heart rate, cortisol levels, blood pressure and more.” The study revealed that those spending time in a natural setting experienced a drop in “stress, anger, anxiety…and increasing comfort, positive affect, and a sense of feeling refreshed.” Furthermore, multiple bodies of research have examined the benefits of “getting some sun,” and its vital role in our body’s production of Vitamin D.

The Covid-19 pandemic drove Americans outdoors, leading to a historic spike in new and used boat and personal watercraft sales. Boaters of all types took to the water to melt away the stress and uncertainty the pandemic brought. In 2021, The Watercraft Journal reported that nearly 60% of new personal watercraft sales went to first time buyers.

Wallace J. Nichols the author of Blue Mind, stated that “Simply the mere sight and sound of water promotes wellness by lowering cortisol, increasing serotonin, and inducing relaxation.” Don’t forget to throw some adrenaline in the mix too if you own a supercharged ski. Nichols describes “Blue Mind” as the state of “logging out” from the constant barrage of information and technology and “giving our brains a break.”

Today’s personal watercraft buyers have access to the most powerful and technologically advanced watercraft in history. The latest innovations by all the major brands have given us skis that are safer, more reliable, and more environmentally conscious than ever before. These factors help riders to focus on enjoying the experience of owning a personal watercraft.

On February 19, 1968 Clayton Jacobsen II applied for a US patent for the first sit-down personal watercraft. His patents serve as the basis for personal watercraft as we know them today. 52 years later Jacobsen’s idea for the personal watercraft is still as relevant as ever, with sales reaching new heights. In a 2015 interview with the Parker Pioneer in Parker, Arizona Jacobsen revealed the true reason for his invention:

“I had been racing dirt bikes as a hobby. It was a form of stress relief for me. However, as you know, when you crash a dirt bike, the ground isn’t very forgiving. That’s why and how I came up with the idea for a personal watercraft […]. ” And what an incredible idea it was. The truth is that Clayton wasn’t trying to change the world –little did he know that his invention would go on to do exactly that.

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JD Brussels

A true Florida native, JD bought his first boat before he was old enough to drive. You can usually find him tinkering on one of his many projects, tearing up the ocean on his Ultra 310, or spending time out on the boat with his wife and 3 kids.

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