The turning of the calendar to a fresh new year never felt so good. Good riddance to the dark abyss that was 2020, and hello to the bright future of 2021!
This year’s boating calendar pages are filled with dates that all boaters will want to mark right now. Even with some continued uncertainty about which boat shows and rendezvous will be able to happen as the COVID-19 vaccines roll out, these days on the 2021 boating calendar will hold. They’re some of the best days of the year to get out on the water and play in a fun, socially distanced way.
Key Boating Dates for the 2021 Calendar Year
- March 20, 2021: First Day of Spring
- May 22-28, 2021: National Safe Boating Week (NSBW)
- May 28-31, 2021: Memorial Day Weekend
- June 5-12, 2021: National Fishing and Boating Week (NFBW)
- June 20, 2021: First Day of Summer
- July 4, 2021: Fourth of July
- July 16-18, 2021: Pass the Handle Weekend
- Sept. 3-6, 2021: Labor Day Weekend
- The Month of December: Holiday Boat Parade Season
March 20: First Day of Spring
Oh, the good fortune: This year’s spring equinox falls on a Saturday. It’s Saturday, March 20, to be precise—the date when day and night are approximately the same length of time.
That means the weekend of March 20 will be a most opportune time to get the boat’s spring commissioning started. With about three months to go before the start of summer, there’s no time to waste in giving everything from the engines to the helm a thorough once-over.
May 22-28: National Safe Boating Week
National Safe Boating Week is a program of the National Safe Boating Council, which encourages everyone out on the water to wear a life jacket. According to the latest U.S. Coast Guard statistics, 79% of boating fatalities are caused by drowning. Among those fatalities, 86 percent of victims were not wearing life jackets.
May 22-28 is a great time to check your boat’s stash of life jackets, and to make sure there are enough jackets in correct sizes for everyone who will join you on board throughout the year.
May 28-31: Memorial Day Weekend
The Memorial Day long holiday weekend is the unofficial start of summer, when boaters in most parts of the country have the benefit of weather that welcomes them back to the water (if they ever left).
This day, of course, is also one of remembrance for all Americans who have died while serving in the nation’s armed forces. Some boaters hold small ceremonies on board to remember friends, loved ones and relatives who gave their lives in service to the nation.
June 5-12: National Fishing and Boating Week
National Fishing and Boating Week is a great time to up your game when it comes to rods, reels and bait.
TakeMeFishing.org offers a host of services that can help, including an interactive map of fishing hot spots; YouTube videos with demonstrations of techniques; and an Anglers Academy that kids can attend from home to participate in fishing games, arts and crafts projects, and more.
June 20: First Day of Summer
The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, the day when the sun is at its highest and northernmost point in the sky—and, thus, the day with the longest period of daylight. Is there any better time to be out on the water?
Not to mention that this year, June 20 is also Father’s Day. Perhaps we should rephrase the question: Is there any better time to be out on the water with dad?
July 4: Fourth of July
The annual party in honor of America’s independence takes place on waterways all across the country, with fireworks displays galore.
Those colorful celebrations in the sky, of course, happen after the sun goes down, but the long holiday weekend typically sees boaters packed across the waterways by day. Raft-ups are a common sight, as are beach picnics and onboard barbecues.
July 16-18: Pass the Handle Weekend
Pass the Handle Weekend typically happens around the third weekend of July. Wakeboarders Shaun Murray and Zane Schwenk came up with the idea for this annual event in 2014, to encourage everyone who loves skiing, wakeboarding and other towed watersports to introduce newcomers to the fun.
You can find information about Pass the Handle Events in your area by searching #passthehandle on social media. Or, head over to PasstheHandle.org for more information.
Sept. 3-6: Labor Day Weekend
This long holiday weekend is the last big hurrah of the summer boating season, before the kids go back to school and the adults refocus their attention on work. Labor Day is one of the premier days for raft-ups, onboard barbecues and simply getting out on the water with family and friends.
In the northern parts of the United States, Labor Day is often when people start to pull their boats out of the water for winterization, to make sure everything is in good working order come next spring.
The Month of December: Holiday Boat Parade Season
In warmer parts of the United States, the Christmas and New Year’s season is also known as the season of boat parades. Boat owners decorate their hulls the way landlubbers decorate their houses, with displays of lights and music that help to celebrate the season in style.
Dozens of these holiday boat parades happen in Florida alone each December. Check your local listings for ones near you.