COVID-19: Reclaiming Freedom On The Water
By Alice Johnson
When the COVID-19 pandemic began months ago, we were confined to our homes with strict restrictions that limited us from participating in recreational activities. Today, municipalities have more-or-less “opened up” and people are slowly returning to their old hobbies: jogging, hiking, and sailing are all seeing a significant resurgence as home-bound Americans attempt to reconnect with the natural world.
Fitness and healthcare Investor Amit Raizada and a proprietor of Newport Harbor’s Veloce Yacht (a luxury yacht available for short-term rentals), knows firsthand that there is no substitute for a day out on the Pacific Ocean’s blue waters. We sat down with Amit and learned how cooped-up Americans are taking the water and reclaiming their freedom in the process.
“Americans are feeling anything but free right now,” Raizada said. “This, obviously, is completely antithetical to the American ethos. People are craving something to remind them of their humanity, and boating offers them that peace of mind more than any other outing I can think of.”
“If you look at the statistics, boat sales have seen an incredible uptick in recent months; people are embracing the freedom of the water in record numbers.”
As Raizada alluded to, a recent survey by the Marine Retailers Association of America found that more than 70 percent of boat dealers are either completely out of boats or have low inventory. With such a high demand for watercraft, it seems everyone is breaking out their captain’s hats and heading for open waters.
Raizada’s Veloce Yacht offers the ideal day trip for any aspiring mariner. Setting sail and taking to the seas has long been viewed as an essential exercise in liberty and humanity—and something that many people so desperately need right now. Raizada, who has been on countless aquatic voyages and adventures himself, believes it offers an exceptionally unique reprieve from our day-to-day struggles.
“When you’re out on the water with the sun on your skin and miles of open territory ahead of you, it is difficult to have negative thoughts—in fact, I’d challenge anyone to try,” he said. “It’s truly an experience all its own, and I couldn’t be more proud to offer that opportunity to anyone and everyone who would like to give it a try.”
Raizada attributes much of this spike in demand to the benefits that being on the water offers. For one, it can be uniquely cleansing, especially now, when we are all working harder and longer than ever before. With mental health issues surging and struggling with the emotional toll of self-isolation, a “mental reset” is something that seems especially needed—and something that Raizada says is necessary to excel both professionally and privately.
“We aren’t meant to be inside staring at a screen for 12 hours a day,” Raizada said. “While necessary during the pandemic, it’s not our natural state. Unless we take active steps to spend time to refresh ourselves in nature, we will not be able to perform at optimal levels.”
This newfound appreciation for the water is not just good for mental health, but is also a way to revitalize the economy in a safe way. With social distancing restrictions in full effect, it is not always easy to find an activity that will consistently keep you away from others. Social distancing is easy out on the open seas.
“When you’re out on a watercraft, you rarely come within 50 yards of other people, let alone six feet,” Raizada said. “While we should all abide by COVID19-related precautions, boating is a good way to get outside and enjoy California’s scenic beauty without having to worry about coming into contact with masses of people.”
Our conversation with Amit left us ready to begin our own adventure on the water. A day out on the Pacific is not only an incredibly exciting way to spend an afternoon, but also an incredibly liberating way to get back to our pre-COVID roots and invigorate our joie de vivre.
Image Credit: Evgenii Bakhchev