Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Life's short, but there's no reason to ever have to say these three words when reminiscing. Which is why you need to get off your butt and reel in the good times-NOW! The great thing about boating is that it offers so many amazing experiences. The bad thing is that it's almost impossible to do them all. But don't get discouraged. We're giving you a swift kick with 50 of the coolest things any boater can do. See how many you've done and then start planning the rest before the Grim Reaper unties your final dockline.
• Teach a Kid to Fish Go for flounder, go for tuna, go for the experience and closeness that it brings.
• Learn to Design a Boat Ever wonder who designs all those boats? Think you could do better? Here's your chance. For 70 years, Westlawn School of Yacht Design (203/359-0500) has been training the best through its mail-order course. Sign on for Yacht Design Lite, good for boaters who don't want to go pro.
• Go Racing The ultimate thrill. Power, strategy, endurance…and more power. Contact the American Power Boat Association (586/773-9700, www.apba.org), the country's official governing body, to get started. There are 13 classes, including ones for kids and remote-control boaters. Grab your helmet and go.
• Charter in the Virgins Islands, that is. Captain a 40-footer for a week in February and sip piña coladas while moored off Mosquito Island's Drake's Anchorage for seven back-to-back perfect days. Try www.bareboatsbvi.com or www.charternet.com for information.
• Cruise the Intracoastal Waterway This is the "big one," the one that takes weeks, or maybe forever. You can travel more than 1,200 miles from Norfolk, Virginia, to Key West, Florida, in protected waters. Sneak up the creek and tie up alongside a shrimper in Calabash on the North/South Carolina border and get the world's best she-crab soup.
• Make an Overnight Run Get a whole new perspective on the meaning of dark. Why waste the night sleeping? Travel at night and play in the day. Check out our Boating at Night video at www.onlinemarine.com.
• Join the 100-Fathom Club You've heard of the Mile-High Club? Well, this one's for us. If anyone asks, we'll deny we ever made the suggestion.
• Talk Your Way out of a Speeding Ticket What should you do when that little blue flashing light is winking at you? Stuff a pillow under your mate's muu-muu and tell the nice cop her water just broke. No mate handy? Dump the cocktail sauce on your Save the Whales T-shirt and tell him you fell on a shark hook. Under no conditions should you offer him a beer.