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They say the two greatest days in a boat owner's life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it.

It's not true. Don't be fooled.

I've spent more than my fair share of time on and around boats. More importantly, I've been around other people who have spent even more time on boats.

I've had the fortune of chatting with folks who have cruised on their hundred-foot yacht for more than two months straight and I've sat down with a man paddling the coast in his homemade kayak. Everybody I talk to agrees. Their boats can instantly change their moods.

With the unofficial start of summer upon us, it's officially boating season. It's time to get the boats in the water and start enjoying the mood-changing opportunities that surround us. We live smack dab in the middle of some world-class boating.

It doesn't matter what kind of budget you have, there are endless local boating opportunities to take advantage of. The county's reservoirs, such as Lake Redman, Pinchot Lake and Lake Williams, are fantastic fishing destinations. And don't forget about Lake Marburg in the western end of the county. A boater could spend weeks exploring all of the lake's nooks and crannies.

For avid water skiers, the Susquehanna River is a great trip, or if you have some extra time, a short ride to Raystown Lake will provide you with more than enough boating activities.

If you drive out of York County and head south, you'll undoubtedly run into the Chesapeake Bay, one of the world's greatest boating opportunities. It would take multiple lifetimes to explore all that the gorgeous estuary has to offer.

Weekend cruising trips are extremely popular on the Bay. Within hours of shoving off the dock, you can be pulling into a quaint little harbor or anchoring in a private and peaceful cove. The possibilities are endless. All it takes is a boat.

Don't ever let someone convince you that owning a boat costs hordes of money. Sure, some folks spend beyond their means when it comes to boat ownership. They demand the fanciest of equipment and the flashiest of boats. But that doesn't mean you have to. You don't need a multi-million dollar trust fund to enjoy the boating lifestyle.

It doesn't matter if you start off with a kayak, a rowboat or an old refrigerator door. All that matters is that you're (safely) out on the water. Once you are, I promise you'll never want to be without a boat again.

We live in one of the greatest boater-friendly regions in the nation. Take advantage of it, no matter what your budget. I promise all your days on the water will lead to at least one smile.

Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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