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'Get On Board' Promotes Pandemic-Stress Relief

Campaign launches to help Americans find mental health support while fishing and boating in face of COVID-19.

'Get On Board' Promotes Pandemic-Stress Relief

A Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation report also found that nearly 1 in 3 participants said the best thing about fishing is ‘getting away from the usual demands of life.'(Shutterstock image)

Avid anglers, especially those who love communing with nature, know that fishing is about more than just catching fish.

It’s healthy for you, for instance, and in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s something that can’t be overstated. As the coronavirus continues to wear on our mental health, a new public service campaign called Get On Board wants to raise awareness about the wellness benefits of fishing and boating.

Launched by Take Me Fishing and Discover Boating, the new campaign promotes fishing and boating as safe, effective ways for anyone to reduce stress while social distancing; the data even suggests interest in those activities has continued to grow amidst the crisis.

"Fishing isn't just about the fish," said Stephanie Vatalaro, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF). "People have long turned to fishing and boating for stress relief. Given the uncertainty in today's world, there's something uniquely appealing about the calming effect of the water. For many people, fishing and boating are lifelines to mental health and wellness."

The campaign cites the latest consumer research from the RBFF, the national nonprofit organization behind the Take Me Fishing brand. According to the current Special Report on Fishing, "relaxing and unwinding" is the No. 1 experience associated with the activity. The report also found that nearly 1 in 3 participants said the best thing about fishing is "getting away from the usual demands of life."

Additional data suggests that interest in fishing and boating has continued to grow during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent poll, 1 in 5 Americans said they're more likely now to try the activities than they were prior to the pandemic. Among parents, the statistic is 1 in 4.

Outdoor activity can relieve stress and anxiety because they support the four M's of mental health — mindfulness, mastery, meaningful engagement and movement — said Dr. Sue Varma, a nationally recognized psychiatrist partnering with Take Me Fishing.

"Fishing in particular encourages mindfulness by helping you get away from distractions, it supports mastery by teaching you a new skill, it provides meaningful engagement through quality time with others you may be quarantining with, and it promotes physical movement by getting you outside without requiring a strenuous workout," Dr. Varma said. "Looking at fishing from a psychiatrist's perspective, it's a smart way to follow social distancing guidelines while prioritizing your health and wellness."

Get On Board

Those interested in joining the Get On Board movement can visit or and use the social media hashtag #TheWaterIsOpen. Website resources include how-to guides for getting started fishing and boating, an interactive map of places to fish as well as local water-access updates to help people recreate responsibly.

About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF): RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF’s recently announced 60 in 60 effort strives to attract 60 million anglers to the sport by the end of 2021. To help recruit, retain and reactivate participants, RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns creating awareness about boating, fishing and conservation, and educating people about the benefits of participation. These campaigns help boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign websites, and, feature how-to videos, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.

About Discover Boating: Discover Boating is a national program to help people get on the water and experience the fun of boating. For anyone exploring the boating lifestyle, is a resource for getting started in boating. It offers tools for finding accessible ways to get on the water such as rentals and charters, plus a boat selector tool and a boat loan calculator to find the right boat for your budget and lifestyle. Follow along on Discover Boating’s social channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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