Summertime is in full swing and what better way to beat the heat than on a boat with good friends and good music? Discover Boating, the U.S. recreational boating industry’s non-profit awareness program, asked its 195,000 Facebook fans what music best captures time spent on a boat. More than 1,500 votes put Jimmy Buffett’s “A Pirate Looks at 40″ in the top spot and filled the rest of the Top 10 list with songs by Craig Morgan, Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band and more.
“Music adds to the escape factor you feel when you’re out on the water with friends and family,” says Carl Blackwell, president of Discover Boating. “Boating allows you to disconnect from the stress on land and when you add your favorite songs to that experience, it takes the relaxation element of boating to a whole new level.”
Here are the Top 10 Boating Songs according to Discover Boating fans.
1. “A Pirate Looks at 40″ - Jimmy Buffett
While it doesn’t look like there is an official video of this track, this is a great live performance by Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band at Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, VA. Released in 1975, it was a No. 1 hit and is a Parrothead favorite. Written by Jimmy, the song is a modern day pirate’s reflection of the first 40 years of his life.
2. “Come Sail Away” - Styx
This track starts off as a piano ballad before a guitar-heavy second half comes in to close out the song. Styx member Dennis DeYoung admitted to writing the song while depressed over lower than expected album sales. The song has been featured on adult cartoons South Park and Family Guy.
3. “Redneck Yacht Club” – Craig Morgan
It wouldn’t be a boating Top 10 without Craig Morgan’s “Redneck Yacht Club.” Filmed at Percy Priest Lake in Nashville, the video shows Craig and his buddies having fun on and around the water. A long-haired Blake Shelton and Aaron Tippin make cameos and you have to admire both Craig’s jet ski skills and his daredevil stunt that lands both himself and a four wheeler in the water.
4. “Southern Cross” - Crosby, Stills & Nash
Love hurts and this classic song is about setting sail around the world to escape a failed love affair. The brokenhearted sailor takes comfort in the sea and the Southern Cross, a constellation sailors in the Southern Hemisphere use for navigation. In the end though, he finds his solace in music.
5. “5 O’Clock Somewhere” – Alan Jackson feat. Jimmy Buffett
We all have days when we can’t wait until quitting time rolls around and that’s what this song is all about – relaxing on the water with a drink and a not a care in the world. The video features both scenes of Alan and his band playing on Alan’s personal boat, named Hullbilly, as well as concert footage from Jimmy Buffett joining Alan on stage during a performance of the song.
6. “Knee Deep” - Zac Brown Band feat. Jimmy Buffett
Zac Brown Band’s latest hit, featuring Jimmy Buffett, is perfect for sitting on the beach or on a boat and letting your worries melt away. The comical video follows Flody Boatwood and his siblings Brody and Jody as they maneuver Careyes, Mexico. If this song doesn’t make you want to buy a boat and sail away, nothing will!
7. “Boats” - Kenny Chesney
There isn’t an official video of Kenny Chesney’s “Boats” and it’s not a song he performs live, but the track sums up his love affair with boats and the freedom and healing being on the water provides as it chronicles stories of people who take to their boats to escape everyday life. You can find the track on Kenny’s Lucky Old Sun album.
8. “Sloop John B” - The Beach Boys
This song was originally a traditional West Indies folk song known as “The John B. Sails” that the Beach Boys revised into one of their biggest hits in 1966. The song is about the John B., an old sponger boat whose crew was known for getting rather merry when they made port. The boat was wrecked and sunk off the coast of the Bahamas in or around 1900.
9. “If I Had A Boat” – Lyle Lovett
This is an interesting video and song by Lyle Lovett. In the video, older men reminisce about cows, horses and working for the waste department, their clips distributed throughout Lyle’s song about what he would do if he had a boat. The video even offers advice about women!
10. “Rock The Boat” - Hues Corporation
Rounding out the Top 10 boating songs is the 1974 disco hit “Rock The Boat” by Hues Corporation. Some consider it the first disco song to top the Billboard Top 100 charts. The song compares the ups and downs of a relationship to being on a boat.