Almost 10% of North Carolina is water, so it’s no wonder boating one of the state’s most popular year-round activities. The Wildlife Resources Commission manages over 200 free, 24/7 public boating access areas, and most of the state’s waterways allow power boating. With more than 50 lakes alone, it can be tough to choose the best boating destination, so we’ve done it for you.
When you’ve got to entertain the whole team from junior boaters to furry friends, Jordan Lake is the place. Located in New Hope Valley within Chatham County, the reservoir was originally developed as part of a flood control project in the 1940s. Today, the lake boasts nine boating access areas with boating ramps, along with hiking trails, swimming beaches, and over 1,000 shoreline campsites. For the ever-active family, there’s always something to do at Jordan Lake, both on and off the water, to please every member of the clan.
High Rock Lake is a true fishing gem, known for its huge population of largemouth bass. As the second-largest lake in the state, you’ll find it at the bottom of High Rock Mountain, between Davidson and Rowan counties. Though it has hosted many Bassmaster Classic fishing derbies, High Rock Lake isn’t on every “top fishing” list on the web, making it less populated by tourists (and better for a good catch). There are no boat motor size restrictions for the entire lake, but expansive areas for cruising are just as abundant as small bays and creeks for peace and quiet.
Lake Norman is a self-proclaimed “water sports paradise.” The lake welcomes wakeboarders and water-skiers alike with several boat launches, rentals, repairs, gas stops, and—best of all—no speed limit. As the largest lake in North Carolina, there’s no way to run out of space here. But don’t worry about getting lost either – the lake is so expansive, there’s an app just to navigate it via GPS!
We can’t forget this iconic filming location for key scenes in the beloved 80s classic, Dirty Dancing. The locals call it “Dirty Dancing lake” since the famous water dance lift and watermelon scenes were both filmed here. There’s even a Dirty Dancing Festival every summer with two full days of live music and dancing. For family members unimpressed by a largemouth bass but totally starstruck by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, this might just be the perfect compromise.
Photo courtesy of Vestron Pictures.
North Carolina has something for everyone
Whether you’re looking for a fishing trip with the crew, a relaxing weekend getaway, or fun for the whole family, North Carolina is the right destination for you. Before you go, make sure to brush up on the state laws regarding boating and alcohol. To operate any watercraft over 10 horsepower on North Carolina waterways, you’ll need to be certified. We already found your ideal destination – if you don’t have your boating license, we’ve got that covered too.
This month marks BOATsmart!’s 15-year anniversary and we could not be more excited to celebrate this milestone with some company history of where it all began and share the news of where it’s going. We took this opportunity to interview Cameron Taylor, the founder and CEO of OUTDOORsmart!, the parent company of BOATsmart!, HUNTINGsmart!, SLEDsmart!, ATVsmart! And PADDLERsmart!, for a little trip down memory lane and to give our customers a more authentic look into the mind of our fearless leader.
From the time Cameron Taylor was 12, he already had a taste of what entrepreneurship looked like when he began to cut lawns. He has always had a passion for innovation which is the driving force behind many of the accomplishments he has had throughout the years. “I’ve always thrived on challenging and succeeding without a safety net, knowing it was up to me to succeed, and learning how to take advantage of opportunity. Inspiring others to share in your vision is ultimately rewarding.” – Cameron Taylor, OUTDOORsmart!. From this drive and innovative thinking came the idea of BOATsmart! which evolved and grew into the company it is today.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to do as a business leader?
“Learning to say no. When you’re growing your business, you naturally want to take advantage of every opportunity you can in order to drive growth, sales and valuation. But laser focus delivers more to the bottom line than trying to capture every dollar. If you can’t define the consumer problem and your offering in two sentences, you’ve got a problem. It’s taken me a while to learn this, but saying no is more powerful than saying yes.”
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your business?
“Not everyone on your team is wired the same. As an entrepreneur in a lean start-up, you’re doing everything. Embrace and savour that. However, once your business and your team starts to grow, you’ll need to recognize that not everyone you bring onboard will be built like you. That’s a good thing. You don’t need more of you; you need more of not you. Truly tap into what drives different people on your team, learn from them and build intrapreneurs that know how to make awesome decisions without needing to have their hands held.”
Some key dates that we are really proud of:
June 1, 2011: BOATsmart! recognized as Canada’s 32nd Fastest Growing Company – Profit Magazine’s PROFIT 200
September 2011: BOATsmart! Peterborough Employer of The Year – Final Nominee
June 2012: BOATsmart! recognized as Canada’s 69th Fastest Growing Company – Profit Magazine’s PROFIT 200
June 1, 2013: OUTDOORsmart! recognized as Canada’s 113th Fastest Growing Company – Profit Magazine’s PROFIT 500
June 1, 2014: OUTDOORsmart! recognized as Canada’s 274th Fastest Gorwing Company – Profit Magazine’s PROFIT 500
October 22, 2014: OUTDOORsmart! wins Peterborough Employer Of The Year
Where we’re going from here
We have an exciting new chapter ahead as we embark on a new adventure with our company and brand. We’ve re-branded with the name Campfire Collective. Campfire is a collective of Brands, Educators, Publishers, Ambassadors and Public Agencies with a mission to inspire and empower outdoor pursuits. We do this by providing online outdoor education courses and through content that informs our Collective of users about spending time in the wild.
At Campfire, we have an affinity for the outdoors and believe that people are better people when they have more ‘wild in their lives’. We want to be a brand that truly connects with people and help them ‘go boldly to their wild’ while having the best experience possible. We are also very passionate about conservation and sustainability efforts and believe there needs to be more of an effort to shed light on these important issues.
As an innovative, agile company that puts people first, we are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves; continuous improvement is at the centre of everything we do. We are passionate about what we do, and when you do the things that you love, amazing things happen; that’s what sparked Campfire Collective. So, here’s to BOATsmart!’s 15 years as North America’s leading boat licensing and PCOC company and the many years ahead of ingenuity, growth and inspiration as we set sail for our new venture!
With Father’s Day nearly here, it’s tough to choose that perfect gift for dad to show him how much he really means to you. After all, he’s been your number one supporter from the beginning, giving you advice and always sharing his not-so-funny dad jokes when you need to smile. Dads look forward to the day that they can pass on their traditions to their kids and share common interests for the ultimate goal of spending quality time together. Maybe he took you to his favourite fishing spot and showed you how to put a worm on a hook and helped you reel in that whopper you’d been excitedly talking about all day. This Father’s Day, we have some awesome gifts for you to choose from to save time and to show dad how great you think he is!
Dad’s already our captain, why not get him a boating license and make it official on the water! Get it now and he’ll receive two extra cards to keep in his tackle box, car or wallet. Boating allows you to feel free and relaxed out on the water and the BOATsmart! course will help dad boat with confidence this Father’s Day.
Swim into dad’s good books this Father’s Day with an engraved compass. This thoughtful, personalized gift is made out of brass metal and measures about 2.5” in diameter. Each compass is hand crafted in a vintage style with minor dents and scratches to add to the charm and character. There are 50-60 characters that can fit per side to personalize your message. This makes a unique yet practical nautical gift for dad that will surely become a keepsake.
What do you get the dad who already has everything? Anchor cuff links, of course! These handsome accessories are a perfect way to make a detailed fashion statement for any occasion. Let dad show his boat enthusiasm with these nautical accessories in a sophisticated way this Father’s Day!
This handcrafted driftwood dock for iPhones or iPods is the perfect gift, tying the modern-day electronics to the timeless minimalism of nature. This is a practical gift that looks like art, handmade in Maine by Lee Goodwin and his team who gather and then handcraft them to fit the contours and cord of your device.
This cookbook is perfect for the dad who loves to cook seafood! It offers more than 150 mouth-watering recipes including entrees, salads, appetizers, soups, sides and more. Every single recipe features seafood that hasn’t been overfished or caught in an environmentally destructive way, making Barton Seaver (the author) one of the most important voices of the sustainability movement. You will learn how to buy and choose the freshest ingredients as well as how to prep and cook seafood. Let dad discover how to make Poached Salmon with Pickled Chilies and Mint or Smoked Lobster and Fennel-Carrot Salad and he’ll become captain of the kitchen in no time.
This striped sweater has a classic look to it that will never go out of style. For those summer days out on the boat that turn to a chilly dusk, dad can throw on this cotton-cashmere sweater and continue on his boating route with his crew in tow.
Dad could always use a new pair of boat shoes so why not treat him to these authentic originals! These have been a long-time favorite to many-a-boater, sailor and yachter for good reason, too! These fine shoes are crafted with genuine all leather upper which allows for years of wear, non-marking rubber outsoles with wet traction as well as genuine hand-sewn Tru-Moc construction for durable comfort. Dad’s feet will be thanking you for this awesome gift!
A fishing or boating subscription is a perfect gift to help dad stay in the know and keep up-to-date on the newest industry news. Help him stay informed with subscriptions to magazines such as Boating Magazine, Boating World or Real Fishing Magazine or set him up with Lucky Tackle Box which sends a box of the newest fishing gear each month.
Dads can often be difficult to buy for as they are the ones that we will always look up to as our teachers, comedians, confidants and protectors. We have so much to thank dads for that it’s hard to show just how much we appreciate their life lessons (mostly at the wrong time but still, it’s the thought that counts) or their silly dad jokes that are not funny at all but that somehow makes them hilarious. But what dads appreciate the most is quality time spent with you! Hopefully these top Father’s Day gift ideas will help you create more time for dad this year while showing him how much he means to you with these thoughtful gifts.
Do I need a license to drive a boat in California?
If you operate any motorized vessel on California waterways (including powered sailboats, paddle-craft, and even undocumented vessels), you need to know about these changes. Starting on January 1st, the state is phasing in mandatory boater education based on operator age. Almost all boaters in California will be required to carry a boating license. In 2018, the mandatory education law will only apply to boaters in California aged 20 and under, but soon it will apply to everyone. Continue reading…