One of the Most Unique Ways to Tailgate Revealed: Boatgating

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Discover Boating names best stadiums for the latest trend in on-water tailgating.

"Outside of being on the field, catching a game from my boat may be one of the best seats around. Boating while you tailgate puts a whole new spin on the pre-game party,” says Jason Taylor, television sports analyst and former pro football player.

September and October are a sweet spot for boating and sports fans alike as baseball and football season overlap with boating season. Boatgating, the combination of two American pastimes—boating and tailgating—is still one of the most unique ways to enjoy game day at stadiums across the country.

Discover Boating, the U.S. recreational boating industry’s non-profit awareness campaign, compiled a list of stadiums which offer the chance to boat, instead of drive, on game day. Whether its football or baseball, Discover Boating encourages sports fans to give boatgating a try and explore how these waterside stadiums offer a unique twist on America’s tailgating tradition.

Television sports analyst and former pro football star, Jason Taylor, who is also an avid boater and angler, is working with Discover Boating to help more Americans get out on the water and experience the fun of boating. Taylor notes, “There are several major stadiums on or near water where boatgating has become one of the more popular ways to gear up for the game. Outside of being on the field, catching a game from my boat may be one of the best seats around. Boating while you tailgate puts a whole new spin on the pre-game party.”

Boatgating, also dubbed sailgating, stern-gating or transom-gating, has become a unique way for boaters and sports fans to experience the tradition of tailgating with an extra element of fun. Game day starts and ends with a relaxing cruise on the water, much more enjoyable than sitting in pre- or post-game traffic. For those with boats furnished with access to a grill, refrigerator and ample seating area, boatgating becomes even more convenient. No lugging of grills, chairs or other cooking gear when it’s all on board.

Discover Boating’s picks for best boatgating stadiums are:

Husky Stadium (Seattle, WA)
University of Washington football fans have the right idea – arrive by boat, moor in Lake Washington, and pick up the shuttle boat service to Husky Stadium. The game day views of the Cascades and scenic Lake Washington from this locale are tough to beat. Unfortunately, for the 2012 season boatgating is on hiatus as Husky Stadium undergoes renovations with the team playing home games at CenturyLink Field in downtown Seattle.
More information (for the 2013 season): GoHuskies.com/transportation

Neyland Stadium (Knoxville, TN)
The Vol Navy, as this infamous group of football and boating aficionados are known, arrive by boat to cheer on the University of Tennessee Volunteers during home football games. On the banks of the Tennessee River, Volunteer Landing is a three-mile riverwalk in downtown Knoxville that includes a visitor center, full-service marina and restaurants. For home football games, expect plenty of boats tied up and grills fired up amidst a sea of orange and white.
More information: TheMarinas.net or 865-633-5004

Heinz Field (Pittsburgh, PA)
Located on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, Heinz Field is situated on the banks of the city’s famed three rivers – Monongahela, Ohio and Allegheny. Avoid the car traffic and arrive by boat. Join this group of dedicated pro football fans on the water, including many who arrive days in advance to secure prime spots on the wharf.
More information: BoatPittsburgh.com/destinations

EverBank Field (Jacksonville, FL)
With its relatively warm weather year round, many football fans skip the highway and take to the waterway on game day. Stadium cheers can be heard throughout Metropolitan Park Marina on the St. Johns River, which is walking distance to the stadium. The marina offers nearly 80 slips that can accommodate boats up to 80 feet. The annual Gator Bowl and Florida-Georgia game held at EverBank Field offer college football fans the chance to get in on the boatgating fun.
More information: JaxParks.com

Soldier Field (Chicago, IL)
A Soldier Field tailgate takes on new meaning when you discover one of the best kept secrets in Chicago – getting to the game by boat. Located just east of Soldier Field, Burnham Harbor has 1,120 slips in a protected cove on Lake Michigan – get in on the action early in the season, as Burnham Harbor closes for the season in mid-October.
More information: ChicagoHarbors.info/harbors/burnham

Nationals Park (Washington, D.C.)
Gangplank Marina provides more than 300 slips in the protected waters of the Potomac River’s Washington Channel giving baseball fans a perfect spot for that nautical tailgate. When boatgating festivities wrap up at the marina, catch the first pitch by hopping aboard the water taxi, which drops off at Diamond Teague Park, the closest location to the ballpark.
More information: GangPlank.com

AT&T Park (San Francisco, CA)
AT&T Park is known for its prime location on San Francisco Bay. Boatgating options are available at nearby South Beach Harbor; where demand is high. Catch all the action or even a splash hit—home runs that land in the water on the fly without hitting the Arcade or Portwalk—from a boat in McCovey Cove, where the scoreboard and replay screens are visible.
More information: SouthBeachHarbor.com

Citi Field (New York, NY)
Skip the subway and head to the ballgame by boat. Cruise past the Statue of Liberty and take in the views of Manhattan’s skyline – all before even getting to the game. Dock at World’s Fair Marina for boatgating festivities before making the short walk to the stadium. Tennis fans can even join in on the fun by taking the open water to the U.S. Open, held later this month at Arthur Ashe Stadium near Citi Field.
More information: NYCGovParks.org/facilities/marinas or 718-478-0480

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About Discover Boating
Discover Boating is a national awareness campaign developed by the North American recreational boating industry. Discover Boating programs focus on improving the boating experience and building interest in recreational boating by providing a resource for Americans to explore the benefits, affordability and accessibility of the boating lifestyle. To find out more, visit DiscoverBoating.com.

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Colleen Richardson
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