Game On

Check out 21 sporting events boaters can get to, see or attend on their vessel.

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh – Photo Credit: Lock Wall One Marina

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh – Photo Credit: Lock Wall One Marina

The idea of attending a sporting event definitely can conjure images of massive traffic jams and overloaded parking lots. What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if boaters could combine their favorite sport with their favorite recreational activity?

A careful look reveals this country is dotted with opportunities to take a personal boat to a game, race or riveting spectacle. Dock right at the stadium, paddle in search of a stray ball, catch a glimpse of a celebrity or simply join a truly memorable form of tailgating festivities. Whatever the goal, attending or getting to a sporting event by water is going to add a whole new definition of fun to the boating — and fan — lifestyle.

Region: East

region-east-boat-sporting-eventsWashington Nationals game

Where: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C. The Major League Baseball park is on the Anacostia River in Washington’s Navy Yard neighborhood.

Parking: Dock at the Washington Marina Co. or the Gangplank Marina on the Potomac River and take a five-minute taxi ride to the Nats’ ballpark. Or tie up at the James Creek Marina, at the confluence of the Anacostia River, the Washington Channel and the Potomac River, and walk. The ballpark is half a mile away.

Tip: The Potomac marinas are within easy reach of downtown D.C. and its many attractions, including the National Monument, the Tidal Basin memorials (Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., FDR and George Mason), and the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Panthers and Pittsburgh Pirates games

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh – Photo Credit: Lock Wall One Marina

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh – Photo Credit: Lock Wall One Marina

Where: Heinz Field (Steelers, Panthers) and PNC Park (Pirates), Pittsburgh. Both are located on the Allegheny River in the North Shore neighborhood. The former is home to the city’s NFL and NCAA football teams, while Major League Baseball fans flock to the latter.

Parking: Dock at Lock Wall One Marina and catch a water limo, or hop on the Clipper Ferry at Station Square. Other nearby options include Washington’s Landing Marina to the east and Newport Marina to the west.

Tip: If you want to beat the crowds and secure a prime docking location, plan to arrive early at the North Shore Riverfront Park. You might snag a first-come, first-served spot along the park’s river wall, which runs past both sports venues.

New York Mets game

Where: Citi Field, New York City. It’s located in Queens’ Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, a stone’s throw from Flushing Bay.

Parking: With a boat basin built for the 1939 World’s Fair and expanded facilities constructed for the 1964 fair, the appropriately named World’s Fair Marina is right on the Flushing Bay Promenade. The ballpark is a short walk.

Tip: Planning to meet friends and worried about the crowds? Don’t be. Shea Stadium’s Home Run Apple is prominently displayed in a flower bed outside the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. You can’t miss it.

Round the Island Race

Where: Edgartown Yacht Club, Martha’s Vineyard

Parking: Contact the Edgartown Harbormaster for dockage or moorings, and Mad Max Marina for dockage. First-come, first-served dockage is available between Edgartown YC and Mad Max for powerboats 30 feet and less.

Tip: The start of this daylong July race is more exciting than the finish. Plan to be there early, so you can see all the competitors, from 28 to 60 feet, blast off on their 63-mile, clockwise circumnavigation of the island. Most will be back by mid- to late afternoon.

Great Schooner Race

Great Schooner Race, Maine – Photo Credit: Fred LeBlanc

Great Schooner Race, Maine – Photo Credit: Fred LeBlanc

Where: Gilkey Harbor to Rockland, West Penobscot Bay, Maine

Parking: Journey’s End Marina in Rockland is a good choice. You can cruise to Gilkey Harbor to watch the start, and when you return, you’ll be close to the finish-line action. It’s also the largest and most protected marina in Rockland Harbor, with 85 deep-water slips.

Tip: Since the Maine Windjammer Association founded the event in 1977, it has been hailed as the largest annual gathering of traditional schooners in America. Spectators should plan to spend time in Gilkey Harbor a day prior to the race for the big afternoon raft-up.

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