The way the National Marine Manufacturers Association sees it, the upcoming Victoria Day weekend marks the unofficial launch of boating season across Canada. You southern Ontario anglers who got out for the walleye opener last weekend may beg to differ, however. I have to admit, though, that this Saturday will be my first boat outing of the year when I hit Lake Rosseau for Muskoka’s pike and walleye openers.

According to the NMMA, some six million boaters will also be hitting the country’s waterways this weekend and, if the organization has things its way, that number stands to grow over the coming summer months. Through its online public outreach initiative, DiscoverBoating.ca, the NMMA hopes to hook up Canucks of all income brackets with their very own boats. Indeed, the organization suggests owning a boat is of better or the same value as such family activities as skiing, RVing, golfing, heading to the cottage or going on a vacation.

The Web site offers info on everything from financing a new boat to boating safety courses to popular boating destinations. In a press release today promoting the NMMA’s online services, spokesperson Tracey Hart touts the economics of boating.

“Boating is not just for the affluent as most people think – boaters are actually mostly of modest incomes who often own boats that are 21 feet and under with monthly payments as low as $200. DiscoverBoating.ca can help Canadians understand what kind of boat they can afford and how to get started in boating, whether it’s going for a test drive or taking a charter trip, there are a variety of affordable ways to experience the boating lifestyle.”

All I can say is, see you on the water!