If like us, you’ve got friends, relatives and business contacts in Florida, you know that they always want to know what the weather is doing in your part of the world. That’s especially true if you live in a region that gets cold and snowy. Doesn’t matter what the topic of conversation is, Floridians always bring it ‘round to the weather. If you’re a boater, consider giving the sentiment more than just a smile and a nod.
Boating Magazine tested more than half of the 100-plus boats we wrote about in 2012 in the Sunshine State. And weather is a big reason: Florida’s sub-tropical climate allows us to conduct on-the-water testing and photo shoots in the dead of winter. But weather’s not the only reason we spend so much time boating in Florida.
Another is the availability of beautiful blue water along the coast. While we could rent helicopters and photograph our covers just about anywhere, a boat looks best when its white wake is creasing clear, turquoise swells.
Then of course there is the great variety of boating water to be found. In just about any given location, we can find protected bays, foliage-bordered rivers and the open sea all within easy reach of each other in a single day. What that means is that we almost never have a “weather day” that keeps us ashore, since we can almost always find protected water to boat in.
Lest you think Florida boating is all about the coast, let us state for the record that the Sunshine State offers some of the most intriguing inland boating to be found in North America. There are chains of lakes connected by narrow hidden creeks that are perfect for exploring; Lake Okeechobee (“The Big O”), and of course the grandeur of the Everglades. Access to these areas is plentiful and we avail ourselves of the opportunity to test a variety of products, smaller boats, ski and wakeboard boats and conduct feature articles while plying these protected, inland waters.
Finally, Florida probably possesses the highest density of boating services of any state in the U.S.—if not the world. Whether we need a Travelift to haul a boat for a prop story, a transient berth to spend the night while testing, or simply a fuel dock to make comparative boat testing fair, boating facilities are almost always close at hand.
Now, we do get to boat all over the world as editors of the world’s largest recreational boating magazine. But we boat in Florida more than anywhere else, and for the reasons cited above, heartily suggest boaters place a Florida boating vacation on their agenda.