Jason Taylor —By Zuzana Prochazka
The Boating Dolphin
Published: December 2013
Despite an inauspicious boating start and a turn with sequins and megayachts, this former pro footballer has found his nirvana on the water.
Growing up in Pittsburgh, I wasn't exposed to a lot of boats or the boating lifestyle," says former Miami Dolphins defensive end and linebacker, Jason Taylor. "Then, my first time on a boat was in a fishing tournament on a rough day, and I got seasick." With a start like that, who would've guessed that the six-time Pro Bowler and football superstar with 15 NFL seasons under his belt would become a passionate boater who's owned seven boats in the past 15 years? Not that he started out small. "My first boat was a 57-foot Ferretti named Truly Blessed," says Taylor. "From there, we moved to a 99-foot Hargrave that I named Katina after my wife."
Then Taylor moved out of yachting, opting for smaller boats that he runs himself. He now owns a 43-foot SeaVee named Pocket Nines, which is powered by four outboards, and a 24-foot Pathfinder bay boat. He finds every moment he can to spend time aboard with his wife and three children. "This is our lifestyle, and not something we have had to force," he says. "My wife loves it, too, so it was a natural fit for us from the beginning."
In 2007 Taylor was named Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year and in 2012 he played his final game against the New York Jets, which the Dolphins won. But football hasn't been his only brush with fame. In 2008 he appeared on the sixth season of ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" where he made bold costume choices involving sequins because "I figured, if you're going to do this, you've got to go the whole way." He made it to the finals, and placed runner-up.
Recently, Taylor has been an analyst for ESPN and is heavily involved with the Jason Taylor Foundation, dedicated to improving the lives of children in South Florida. "We've auctioned dinner cruises and fishing trips to raise money for other charities as well as our own," he says. "In addition, we recently partnered with Invicta Watch CEO Eyal Lalo on a program called 'Ocean Time – Kids Tackle the Sea' where we essentially take children out of hospital beds and provide them with a day out on the open ocean for cruising and fishing. The experience has been incredible for all involved."
Nobody guided Taylor toward boating, but he is certainly a mentor for his three kids. "My two boys would live on the boat if they could. They'd be fishing all day and sleeping on the bow at night if I let them," he says. "I'm just worried about when they're teenagers and want to take it out for a spin themselves."
Taylor has covered the Atlantic coast from New York to the Caribbean and looks forward to chartering in the Mediterranean, and possibly to building a newer version of the SeaVee. In the meantime he'll continue to savor what he loves best about boating. "Getting away," he says, "the solitude, peace, and quiet — just a way to recharge the batteries. Whether it's a two-week vacation or just me and the boys running out with our fishing rods for a few hours, we try to get out on the water anytime we can." And his best advice for boaters everywhere? "Don't answer your phone."
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