What Is Boatgating and Why Is It So Popular?

people boating

Boat enthusiasts are always looking for new hobbies and activities that let them enjoy the water in new and exciting ways. Sailing, fishing, and wakeboarding will always have their allure – but you don’t want your time on your boat to become predictable or monotonous.

One of the most interesting new hobbies to emerge in the past few years is boatgating. But what exactly is boatgating, and why has it become so popular?

The Basics of Boatgating

Boatgating, as you may have guessed from the name, is like tailgating – but on a boat. In the United States and Canada, tailgating is a popular pastime for sports fans. Before (and sometimes after) an American football game or similar sporting match, people gather in parking lots and cook food, drink alcohol, and meet and talk to other people.

On a boat, the setup is similar. You can set up a portable grill and cook some hamburgers and hot dogs. You can open a cooler and have a beer. You can even talk to other boat owners on the water (if you don’t mind shouting or using the radio). The difference is, you’ll be on your boat the entire time, usually in the waters around your chosen stadium. You can also listen to the game in progress on the radio or watch it on your mobile device.

Just as there’s no single “right” way to tailgate, there’s no single “right” way to boatgate. Different people will have different preferences and different ideas for how to make the most of the party.

Why Has Boatgating Become Popular?

What’s with the sudden interest in boatgating? How did this hobby become popular?

  • Renewed interest in boats. One of the most important factors has been the surge in interest in boats. Boat sales have skyrocketed in recent years, and dealers and manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand. There are many factors influencing this development as well, such as the COVID-19 pandemic encouraging people to explore new hobbies that were accessible during lockdowns. But the bottom line is that more people own boats and are using them frequently – so boatgating has risen in appeal.
  • Social distancing. The pandemic also encouraged people to explore new hobbies that enabled them to socially distance from other people; many stadiums were completely shut down and people were reluctant to tailgate in the traditional manner, so boatgating naturally became a popular alternative. Once people discovered how interesting and fun it was, they kept it as a mainstay hobby.
  • Fresh air. Boatgating allows you to enjoy the game with an abundance of fresh air. Instead of being stuck in a stadium with thousands of other people, forced to breathe in fumes from food and drink vendors, you can enjoy the refreshing aroma of the water.
  • Environmental control. It’s your boat, so you can use it however you see fit. You can play music, upgrade your seats, or even sunbathe while you’re listening to the game. It’s a completely autonomous space, unlike a stadium seat or the back of your car in a parking lot.
  • Novelty and popularity. Part of the reason boatgating is becoming more popular is that it’s on an upward growth trajectory. People watching the game on television see clusters of boats on the water behind the stadium, and boat owners everywhere are talking about it. The interest in this hobby is contagious; the more people we have paying attention to it, the faster it spreads.

Tips to Enjoy Boatgating

If you plan on boatgating in the near future, there are several tips that can help you make the most of your excursion:

  • Check the rules and regulations. Not all stadiums have the open water necessary to support boatgating. And in some areas, local rules may dictate where you can and can’t boatgate. Make sure you review local rules and regulations before you make any concrete plans.
  • Appoint a designated driver (DD). Most of the time, tailgating entails drinking alcoholic beverages. If you’re having a sober event, you don’t need to worry about this point. But if you’re planning on drinking, you should also plan on having a designated driver. Driving a boat while under the influence is both illegal and dangerous, so don’t take the risk.
  • Wear lifejackets. Make sure everyone on board is wearing a properly fitting lifejacket, especially children, dogs, and other people who may be more vulnerable. A lifejacket can save your life if you fall overboard, so there’s no reason not to wear one.
  • Pack a couple of coolers. Boatgating is at its best when you’re enjoying ample beverages and food, so make sure you bring a couple of fully packed coolers. Bring more staples and refreshments than you think you need – that way, you can share with other people and still never run out of food!
  • Invest in a portable electric or propane grill. Not all grills or cooking units are ideal for a boating environment, but portable electric grills and propane grills are a good fit. Invest in one so you can cook your food fresh while enjoying the game.
  • Make sure your radio is waterproof. There are many ways you can enjoy the game while boatgating, but one of the most popular is listening to the action on the radio. If you go this route, make sure your radio is waterproof.
  • Invite your friends. While it’s possible to boatgate alone, it’s more fun if you invite your friends and family. Make it a party!
  • Socialize. Similarly, the event becomes more fun and interesting when you socialize with other people. Other boat owners are here for the same reasons you are; they’re fans of both boating and sports. You’ll have a lot in common, so chat it up!

Want to get started with boatgating? You’ll need a boat to do it. And at TheYachtMarket, we have almost every type of boat you can imagine. Browse our selection of new and used vessels for sale today!

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