Being a lifelong boater, (that’s quite a long time), I hate it when some ‘Land Lubber” or former non-devoted boat owner says sarcastically, “A boat is a hole in the sea you pour money into!’’ Frankly, I have to control myself from laying them low with a ‘Belaying pin” as pirates used to do. Every time it’s said to me, I know that person may have owned a boat but they should never have stepped on its deck. They knew nothing about what boating means and what devoted boaters live for it. Boating gets into your life like air and blood. Even when a boater is too aged to go out anymore (Called “throwing the anchor ashore”) he generally haunts marinas, waterfronts, boat shows, go on charter boats, and sit on the beaches staring out at the horizon. At home, they continue reading boating magazines and building boat models if they chose.
The love of all things boating usually starts young. It can be inherited from previous generations or you may be naturally inclined to it. It can get in your head by reading books or watching movies and nature programs. As a youngster, you may have learned to sail, row, or had a small powered skiff. Maybe you built ship models or your parents owned boats you enjoyed sleeping and fishing on. It doesn’t really matter how boating got under your skin or whether you are male or female, it’s just there. Love of the outdoors and adventure is required!
Feeling glorious while watching a sunset over the bay and ocean or feeling adventurous and a tad scared during an unexpected storm that tests your skill is demanded. Being cautious, using common sense, and forgoing that drink while everyone else is imbibing is absolutely necessary. The fact is, when you buy a boat or watercraft and pass the newly required course, you become a captain with all the responsibilities and pleasures.
So you go to a boat show, showroom or Craig’s List and you are thinking of buying a real boat. What now? Well, let’s first go over that “A hole in the sea you throw money into” gag. Yep! It really does make me gag to mention it. Former boaters who use this line usually were never meant for boating, to begin with. Yes-It can be expensive to very expensive but it doesn’t have to be. It all depends on what you require in amenities and whether the boat is a commitment to something you love or a status symbol. Neither approach bothers me. Whatever you settle on will be your boat, not mine. What is important is that you are committed to doing it right and purchasing what you can afford to enjoy. There is no sense in overwhelming yourself with a huge debt if it’s not going to be a commitment to a way of life. You must take into account that you have to pay for docking if you do not live on the water where you are paying for it anyway in taxes. You have to insure the vessel and maintain it and you have winter storage. The expense can often be mitigated by how you view what you want your boating experience to be. If the family is more inclined to enjoy Vegas or Disneyland as a regular occurrence during your boating season- well, maybe it’s not worth the investment. But if you and yours share DNA that has the desire to have salt spray in their faces and loves the smell the brine, if they already kayak or water board in the bay, fish in the ocean or would just cruise over to the beaches or Watch Hill on a regular basis- then a boat is well worth the investment.
And it’s more than that. Folks who are really into boating are in it ALL year. They learn how to do some maintenance on their vessels themselves unless they are filthy rich, and even then they still love to polish, scrub, maintain teak, and master the tying of knots. The avid boater bemoans winter when the boat is dry docked and spends snowy days planning the next season’s adventures. As March wanes they tear off the boat cover and begin to tinker to get the boat ready. Often it’s a family affair and in certain situations, your hands and knees may get dirty. So What! That’s part of the glory.
Soon you are chomping at the bit for launch day. Die hards want their boats in early. Then there are those who want their boats by Memorial Day or later, then back on land it goes the day after Labor Day thereby missing those crisp, beautiful, early autumn days on the bays, as salt grass turns rust, monarch butterflies, geese fly south and bass and bluefish fishing heats up. There are those who push the late fall season to the limit but I always try to give up mid November.
But in the end, how and when you use your boat is ultimately your choice. After a lifetime of boating I know for my family, and me it has been more than worth it, even when those times crept up when it was a tad bit of a stretch financially. The experiences we have had cannot be measured in dollars. They can only be measured in the smiles of your crew, the look in their eyes as the summer clouds puff higher and higher into the blue sky or how children jump off the transom and wade to shore while picking up shells and marveling killies or fiddler crabs. You may claim that “A boat is a hole in the sea you throw money into” but I say resoundingly –Wrong! Truth told, “A boat is a hole in the sea that dreams come through.” Well worth it if you have it in you.
C. 2017 by Mark C. Nuccio. All rights reserved
You can contact Mark C. Nuccio “firstname.lastname@example.org