A few years ago as my birthday was approaching, my wife got a call from a couple of friends suggesting we go for sushi to celebrate. It included checking out their newest acquisition, a new 20 something foot Bay Cruiser.
We had gone for a couple of cruises on their smaller boat in the past and it almost always involved a dark and scary “Saki fueled” ride back to their marina in unfamiliar waters (to me anyway). The evening was great fun for everyone except me. I was the default DD. I marveled at how my friend could so easily get himself trashed and then expect I would be okay with his “bringin’er home” in the dark. Being that I was a long time mariner and the only one with any kind of license, I knew I had to avoid exceeding the legal alcohol limit if I was to be aboard for any trip. Of course I had no choice but to convince him to let me act as his helmsman, I was always on the edge of my seat and paying close attention to where we were headed to and from. It was exhausting.
Expecting more of the same, the evening’s plans were quickly brought to a halt when I mentioned to my cute, well-meaning but apparently oblivious wife that it was my birthday. Two beats later she got it. It was my birthday and spending it on any boat was not my idea of a great time.
I hate boats…..let me repeat that, I hate boats.
Especially a boat that I don’t own but would still be held accountable for any reckless or dangerous behavior.
I wouldn’t own a boat if you bought it for me. I spend half my life on one, the other half is my time, boat free.
When crew change day arrives I forget about the boat as soon as I clear the gate. I usually decompress enough on the ride home to the point of walking in the house, kissing the wife and taking a shower. I put my head on my pillow and disappear for 2 or 3 blissful hours of silent uninterrupted sleep. Thereafter it’s dinner with my wife and an early bedtime.
My father, brother and many friends owned boats and found them endlessly relaxing, I just see the work. I also see that for every competent and careful boat owner, there are many more who think a six-pack and a set of keys are all that’s required for a good time. No consideration given to the fact they are venturing into a environment that has little patience for the careless.
Ask any professional mariner and they will affirm what I’m talking about. We are surrounded during the summer boating season with any number of small vessels. Sailboats, motor boats, jet skis and kayaks in and among commercial traffic. More than a few tend to be oblivious to the rules or common sense.
Everything recreational about boats is a mystery to me. I only see the work. Prep, painting, storage, maintenance and repair. All for a few hours of use during a season.
A captain I worked with many years ago was talking about his 36′ cruiser and I asked him what kind of money it took for him to store, maintain and finally run his boat for one season. The amount he came up with staggered me. I could have taken a Hawaiian vacation for two weeks at the Waikiki Hilton with what he expended for less than 40 hours of blissful boating.
I did a quick benefit analysis of cost vs. usage (out loud) and was summarily thrown out of the pilothouse.
As it is, you’d be hard-pressed to find me on a boat on my time off. Unless it’s a ferry or Dive boat, I have little use for them. And I can state categorically and without any doubt that I will never own one.
I’m sorry if I’ve offended any recreational boat owners with my opinions, but it is what it is. I’m not interested in your vintage sailboat, cabin cruiser, your new Jet Ski or for Christ’s sake your new fucking kayak. I’m on my time, please leave boats out of the conversation.