For many people facing retirement, the prospect of finding activities to fill your time might seem daunting. How can you make sure your retirement years are meaningful, life-affirming and — also important — fun? Fort Myers residents Bob and Deb Stein knew from the beginning that they wanted to incorporate boating into their new lives in a big way.
“We came from Ohio after having lived there for 35 years,” Deb explains. “We boated a little in the late-’80s on interior lakes in Central Ohio and Lake Erie, but when the kids got older, we sold the boat.” Once it was time to retire, however, a whole new level of opportunity presented itself.
“When we moved to Florida in 2016, we realized it opened up a lot of activities and a world of adventures,” Bob says. The Steins’ boating journey picked up the year before they retired when they bought a 47’ cruiser. The couple started taking boating lessons, but quickly realized that their choice was too large for their needs.
“We wanted something for weekend jaunts, not weeks at a time sleeping on a boat. We didn’t need a house to go with us every time we were out on the water,” Deb says.
“The appearance, the speed, the comfort, the reputation of Boston Whaler — it fit everything we were looking for,” Bob says, praising the boat for its versatility. “We have taken up to eight people out on it to fish, or I could be out just by myself or with Deb if I wanted to do something on my own.”
And the 330 Outrage quickly proved to meet all of their needs. The Steins christened it the Adventure III as a gesture to the new phase of their lives. “Adventure III signifies our current stage,” Deb explains. “Raising a family and successful careers were important stages, and now it is time to play and learn something new. Our Boston Whaler is allowing us to do both.”
“We’re coming back full circle with each other and figuring out our new lives moving from Ohio to Florida,” she continues. “Our new adventure is our life down here. It’s the boat, it’s the weather, it’s the new friends.”
And what an adventure they’ve had so far. Deb and Bob enjoy a wide variety of on-the-water activities, and the Adventure III allows them to do it all.
“I enjoy snorkeling,” Bob says. “The boat makes it very easy because there’s the dive door on the side that allows you to easily get on and off without any problems. The fishing is great too, of course. It’s set up as a fishing boat, so it has great utilities that can help us find the fish.”
“It’s a super family boat,” Deb adds. She says everyone in the family — especially their 4- and 6-year-old grandsons — enjoys the Whaler and the plethora of water-based activities it gives them access to.
“When we’re FaceTiming, the grandsons ask us to show them the pool or show them the boat,” Bob says. “They remember those activities from when they visit, so they always like to see them when they’re not here.”
“The oldest one knows 17 diﬀerent types of shells now,” Deb, an avid sheller, says. “We try to teach them things while they’re visiting us. We’ve taught them different types of fish, about dolphins and so much more. We try to take advantage of the environment here.”
Family is clearly precious, so one of the greatest aspects of the Adventure III for the Steins is how reliable it is. “Going out with our grandsons, we feel totally safe. Even though we’re away from everything, kind of off the grid, we can focus on bonding with them because we don’t have to worry about something going wrong with the boat,” Bob explains.
In the three years they’ve owned it, they have yet to suffer a single mechanical problem with the Outrage. “We have immense satisfaction with Boston Whaler,” Bob says, “We are pleased with the quality and reliability of our boat. We’re confident in taking it on longer trips, like down to the Keys. It can be a lot of time on the water, but we have an extremely well-running, very low-maintenance boat.”
In addition to reliability when out with the grandkids, a well-running boat means the Steins can take advantage of all of the boating opportunities southwest Florida has to offer. A longtime vacation spot, they chose to settle in Fort Myers for retirement because of its proximity to the airport, myriad outdoor activities, and of course, excellent boating opportunities.
“We are so fortunate to have such great spots to visit via the convenient waterways,” Deb says, “We have traveled to the Tampa/St. Petersburg waters, as well as several trips to the Keys. One of our future trips will be to the Bahamas.”
“Boating down to and back from the Keys is a real pleasure. The boat rides extremely well in all kinds of water, and the joystick option allows us to set waypoints and initiate the auto pilot in open waters,” Bob adds.“We had a great time last year when took the boat to Marathon to lobster dive with our son and daughter-in-law.”
And doing a variety of activities is clearly pivotal in the course of Bob and Deb’s third adventure. “We love retirement,” Deb says. “We love learning something new every day. Fishing is still new to us, so we’re learning that. Retirement has opened up many new opportunities in addition to boating. I volunteer at a children’s hospital, which is new to me, since my background is in banking and finance. And I finally have time to join book clubs!”
They also find time to be active every day, playing pickleball, golfing and riding their bikes, along with their various boating activities. But even with all the new pursuits and increased family bonding time, the biggest difference in their third adventure has really been an entire shift in mindset.
So, for Bob and Deb, retirement has been an exercise in finding ways to live life to the fullest, as well as relax. To maximize the time they get with family and learn new things together. To go on excursions and pick up new pursuits that truly bring joy and fulfillment to their lives.
“We’re lucky — we’re blessed that we’re able to live this way,” Deb makes sure to say as she and Bob reflect on all the Adventure III has brought them. Fortunately, they seem to have set themselves up for many more happy days on the rest of their boating adventure.