Boating Moms Who Make Waves
This Mother’s Day, we’d like to spotlight a few amazing HMY moms that share the adventurous world of boating with their kids. If you’re lucky enough to have a mom in your life, you don’t hesitate when someone asks who your favorite woman is in the world. My mom is hands down my favorite person, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it! Growing up on the water in South Florida, the best family memories are made out on the boat- soaking up the sun, dodging the afternoon rain by finding a bridge to grill beneath, keeping lookout for weedlines and turtle sightings, (regrettably) whining when mom chased me around with hourly sunscreen applications, then her keeping me bundled up in a towel on the chilly cruise home.
While traditional gifts like flowers, jewelry, and clothing are great ideas, a survey by Forbes Woman showed that most moms would really prefer a chance to spend quality time with family. At HMY Yachts, we have quite the family environment, and it’s a pleasure to hear so many stories from customers and employees about how close boating has brought their family together. Whether it’s sportfishing, diving in the Bahamas, or cruising the sandbar, here are a few really incredible moms that are giving their kids experiences of a lifetime!
Kelly John, a proud mother of three, and her husband Brian have been taking her kids out boating since they were in diapers. Hailey (16), Zach (12), and Cassie (9) all have a deep love for the ocean thanks to their mother and father.
“I think it’s great that our family of five all enjoy the water and boating,” says Kelly, “One of our children is on the autism spectrum, and being on the boat or in the water is his happy place where we don’t have to worry where he is or what he’s doing twenty-four hours a day.” Kelly’s son attends The ELS Center of Excellence in Jupiter, Florida, a game-changing resource and a leading example of what can be available to individuals on the spectrum.
Kelly reflects on how spending time on the water has been therapeutic for the entire family, “The ocean has made my youngest, Cassie, a 9-year-old, a stronger person. She’s absolutely fearless and has so much respect for the ocean. My oldest, Hailey, loves to bring her friends out on the boat to hang out and have fun.”
Whether it’s fishing, lobster season, or just hanging out at the sandbar BBQing and relaxing, the John family knows how to have a good time on the their Everglades 435CC, “Salty J’s.”
Kelly and her family of five’s favorite place to travel is to the Bahamas, from West End to the Exumas. Her favorite memory is taking the boat over 300 miles down to the Exumas for their summer trip. They love that each island is unique. “From swimming with pigs, to feeding iguanas, and swimming with sea turtles and sting rays- it’s always an exciting time for the kids.”
You catch this one…I’ve caught plenty!
Jody Lewis grew up fishing with her incredible mom and dad, and knew when she had kids that she’d pass her love for the water on to the next generation. While her three kids, Corey (30), Christina (25), and Calli (9), are grown now, Jody and her husband Steve have included them in tournaments since about a week old. If the seas were rough, they’d be cozy and safe in the corner surrounded by pillows. At one point, Jody was taking them to 17 tournaments a year, traveling to Isla Mujeres, then cruising over to Costa Rica.
Avid fishermen and divers, Jody, Steve, and the kids’ favorite place to travel is the Exumas. “The fishing and natural beauty of the ocean life in the Exumas is something you can never truly understand until you’ve experienced it. Each year we go with family and friends right after the last BBC tournament and spend three weeks of pure fun-snorkeling, diving, shelling, sandbar hopping, shark swimming, and cave diving.”
At night, they all feast on yellowtail snapper made right on the boat. “Our friendly yellowtail competitions in the afternoon are the best! Who can catch the biggest fish, no little guys allowed, and reel fast to beat the toothy critters down below. The kids love my homemade yellowtail dinner with yellow rice and a delicious salad!”
Outside of the Bahamas, their love for Costa Rica is strong. They don’t compete in tournaments because they’re too busy having fun and enjoying what it’s all about. Jody and the kids love the natural beauty of spinner dolphins jumping out of the water, tuna all around them, and huge pods of whales right off the bow while fishing for sailfish. Jody reminisces about laughing with her kids and saying, “You catch this one…I’ve caught plenty!”
Jody and her family recently sold their 64’ Viking “Freebie” through HMY Yacht Sales Professional Jeff Creary. “I was glad I didn’t see her leave the dock because it would have been really hard. We had her for 12 years and it was time to let her go to the next family, but when the replacement time comes, we will definitely get another Viking. They are the best, and we love the Healey family.”
Jody continues, “Boating has given our family memories that are unreachable by so many, and the life-long friendships you make on the water are amazing. I’m glad I got to share these special experiences with my kids.”
Viking Key West Challengers
Erin Vatland and her husband David have been taking their three kids, Marissa (13), Matthew (11), and Maddyn (7), on the boat since they were born, each even venturing to the Bahamas as newborns. Erin and her family loves cruising the Bahamas aboard “Sarah K,” the 65’ Viking Enclosed Bridge owned by Erin’s in-laws Robert and Karen Vatland.
The Exumas is Erin’s favorite place to travel with the kids on the boat. “We love spending time in the Bahamas visiting sandbars, snorkeling reefs, fishing with the boys, and diving for fresh food. The kids have a great time full of laughter, and we get to spend real quality time together.”
"When it comes to fishing tournaments, the kids really enjoy the Viking Key West Challenge because of the family-friendly events and the pool party at Dante’s." Erin and all three children have fished the Viking Key West Challenge all five years, and plan to be there for many years to come.
Family Experiences, Not Things
Moms are the most special people in this world. They teach us values that stay with us for the rest of our lives, and moms that share their love for the ocean with their kids create unforgettable memories that last a lifetime. The best thing about being on the water is that every trip is unique- from reeling in a fresh catch to swimming with turtles, or spearfishing for hogfish to sipping wine at sunset- you’re bound to have great stories. From our giant adventurous HMY family to yours, Happy Mother’s Day!