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Playing Houseboat

After-hours tips for busy entrepreneurs.
April 1, 1997
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/14044

Houseboating is a great way to enjoy water's soothing calm and its potential for fun. These floating hotel suites are perfect for novice boaters, too--one reason the number of people renting houseboats is increasing annually. After the five-hour pre-boarding course that rental agencies offer, even landlubbers would have trouble running the boat ashore.

As the boat leisurely traverses the lake's shoreline, you anchor in coves along the way. You can dive into the water, hike on shore, water-ski off a roundabout usually in tow and loll on the sun deck. And because houseboats sleep up to 12 comfortably, they're perfect for families vacationing together.

"There's always something new to discover among the incredible canyons of Lake Powell," says David Archibald, editor of Houseboat magazine, of Arizona and Utah's huge sandy-shored, manmade lake framed with soaring red cliffs. The richness of foliage surrounding Lake Cumberland in Kentucky makes it another favorite houseboating spot. "But the trip up the Florida Keys," says Archibald, "that's really spectacular."

Expect to spend $1,200 to $1,400 for four days on a fully equipped boat for eight to 10. Houseboat's annual renter's guide ($5) describes houseboating lakes and waterways in the United States and Canada plus rental companies to contact. Call (800) 630-0135.

Body Buddy

Not just for movie stars anymore, personal trainers are helping a growing number of entrepreneurs meet their fitness goals. Whether you're seeking aerobic benefits and strength training or looking to recover from an injury, a personal trainer can help you fit a tailor-made routine into your schedule.

"People just haven't the time to go to a gym," says April Underwood (far right), an American Council on
Exercise (ACE)-certified trainer in Santa Monica, California, who works with clients either in their homes or in her own small gym.

Motivation is another benefit of using personal trainers. People who hate exercise often need the personal nudge. Some people want constant supervision and see a trainer two to three times a week; others prefer a once-a-month session to update workouts and get feedback on progress.

No national certification exists (though certification from ACE and the American College of Sports Medicine are highly regarded), so much of the search for a personal trainer is through word-of-mouth. Among the most important things to consider are:

1. The trainer's experience with people who have similar goals

2. The trainer's ability to create an interesting exercise program based on your fitness evaluation results, goals and personal preferences--and the willingness to modify it as needed

3. How closely you're supervised during the workout

4. How comfortable you are with the person

Its Your Call

Car phones are stretching the day's business into the commute. Appointments are set, family concerns are talked out, and deals are done.

Is it safe to mix talking and driving? A recent study by Canadian scientists concludes the risk of an accident increased fourfold when drivers were talking on the phone. While it's unlikely people will give up their car phones, the study points up the need to use care and common sense when making calls from your car. Here are some tips to make car phones safer:

1. Dial only when it's safe to take your eyes off the road for a second, and preprogram frequently called numbers.

2. Buy a hands-free phone.

3. Keep calls short and light.

4. If you're even slightly concerned that using the phone may distract you, pull over to make the call.

Contact Sources

Houseboat, 520 Park Ave., Idaho Falls, ID 83402, (208) 524-7000;

April Underwood, c/o Direct Results, 8117 Manchester Ave., #729, Playa del Rey, CA 90293, (310) 585-3969.