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Your Brain on a Boat: Research Says Boating Improves Creativity, Emotional Health, Relaxation

"The effect of boating on our lives, and its fundamental connection to our planet's waters, are well documented from an economic, ecological and educational perspective," said Dr. Nichols. "But, the relationship of boating to our health has been largely overlooked. We now know, thanks to science, that the mere sight and sound of water promotes wellness by lowering cortisol, increasing serotonin and inducing relaxation. It only makes sense that being on a boat is one of the best ways to access the wellness benefits of the water."

For the first time, Dr. Nichols is exploring how boating benefits overall health.

Red Mind, Blue Mind

"Red Mind" is a state of mind described as an "edgy-high, characterized by stress, anxiety and fear." While stressors such as money and work influence people, there are new factors associated with urbanization and a constant tether to technology that offer little respite from the demands of today's world. In fact, a 2015 Globe and Mail survey report1 found that 60 percent of Canadians go to work feeling stressed, and one in four Canadian workers would describe their lives as highly stressful.

An antidote to "Red Mind" is "Blue Mind" — a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity and a sense of general happiness associated with water.

"I have done a tremendous amount of research on the benefits of being near, in, on or under water," said Dr. Nichols. "The best place to begin is by first considering the negative stressors that go away when we step aboard a boat – the traffic noise, televisions, the office, computers – they all fade away. The boat is the greatest technology ever invented to access and explore a vast world of 'Blue Mind' benefits and escape the 'Red Mind' mode of an anxious and distracted life on land — although its application is understudied and under-prescribed."

Your Brain on a Boat


Boating can trigger a restful state. It provides the means to get outside of daily routines, allowing our brains to reset, think beyond current circumstances, and connect to something bigger than ourselves.  Being on a boat promotes physiological and psychological changes spanning health, wellness, awe, wonder, creativity, play, happiness and relaxation.

Join us this season and let's get in that "blue state of mind" aboard Floating Grace!