- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2003

A recent boaters survey reached some unintentionally hilarious conclusions, one of them being that one of the benefits of owning a boat is that it allows you to spend time on the water. What a revelation!
The survey, conducted by the Impulse Research Corporation for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, also found that boaters are healthier and happier than their non-boating counterparts.
The online survey consisted of 1,029 randomly selected men and women that closely matched U.S. population demographics.
Some of the other results: Boaters average nearly 7 hours per week in active recreation, compared to less than 5 hours for non-boaters. Landlubbers have been hospitalized slightly more than boat owners (14 percent to 11 percent) and tend to be more overweight than their boating counterparts.
In addition to physical benefits, when asked about the overall quality of their lives, boat owners rated theirs better than did non-boaters. Boat owners also expressed greater satisfaction with their accomplishments, relations with their families and their ability to enjoy life. Non-boaters are more prone to feeling useless, lonely, unhappy or excessively fatigued.
67 percent of boat owners said having a boat has contributed to their well-being.
The survey said boat owners experienced greater self-esteem and an ability to enjoy life, plus they said they had a better sex life. (How in the world did they glean that from the survey?)
Nearly two-thirds of boat owners said owning a boat has brought their family closer.
But how about this survey discovery: Most boat owners said the benefits of owning a boat include being outdoors. (I have news for the National Marine Manufacturers Association: Very few boaters do their boating indoors.)
The one statistic I couldn't believe and I'm a boat owner was that boaters found tranquility. The surveyed boaters obviously don't do their thing on the busy rivers, bays and lakes of the Middle Atlantic States where it can really get hectic.
Trout volunteers needed
Bob Lunsford of the Maryland DNR's Freshwater Fisheries is going to do a trout fishing survey March29. He needs volunteers to help check how many anglers can be found at certain trout waters on that day. In some cases, volunteers will ask a small number of questions of anglers, in others only cars need to be counted. The survey will begin around 5 a.m. and conclude at noon. Survey volunteers can pick the site they wish to assist.
At the upper Eastern Shore, people are needed at Big Elk Creek at the covered bridge parking area in Fair Hill to do an exit survey and a car count at all access points. At Principio Creek, along the entire length of the put-and-take stream segment, a car count is needed beginning at 5:30. Several volunteers are required for each section. Questions? Contact coordinator Rick Schaefer, 410/827-6245, rschaefer@dnr.state.md.us.
In Harford County, an exit survey will be done at Deer Creek's upper parking area and entrance. Lunsford says, "We need to coordinate to prevent double counting. Call Lunsford, 410/260-8321, or e-mail him at blunsford@dnr.state.md.us.
In Baltimore County, a car count is needed at Little Falls and Little Gunpowder Falls. Get in touch with coordinator Howard Stinefelt 301/791-4736, or e-mail the state fish hatchery, albertpowell@dnr.state.md.us.
In Frederick County, car counts need to be made at Friends Creek, Owens Creek, Frank Bentz Pond and Cunningham Falls Lake. The coordinator is Mark Toms, 301/898-9724.
In nearby Montgomery County, exit surveys and car counts will be made at various Northwest Branch access areas and a parking area near Route 212. Call or e-mail Lunsford, 410/260-8321, blunsford@dnr.state.md.us.
At Washington County's Greenbrier Lake and Blair Valley Lake, an exit survey will be made, while a car count is planned for Big Pool. Coordinator Ed Enamait will handle it. Call 301/898-9724.
Car counts are needed for Allegany County's Wills, Jennings, Fifteen Mile, and Sideling Hill creeks. Call or e-mail coordinator Alan Heft, 301/689-7107, Aheft@dnr.state.md.us. In Garrett County, car and angler counts must be made at Bear Creek, Accident Pond, and Mill Run. Ken Pavol is the coordinator, 303/334-8218.
Look for Gene Mueller's Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday, and his Fishing Report every Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com.

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