So Just What is so Special About Being on the Water?


In an earlier rant, thinly disguised as a ‘blog post’, I rebutted the concept that boating is too expensive. I had metrics to back me up thanks to the NMAA. I spent some time thinking about the various subjective versus objective reasons why people seek refuge on the water. So here goes.

Harley riders have an old saying that goes something like “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand”, which is a response given when people question why one would ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

The same may be said, albeit with a less defiant edge, about boating. People who go boating, at some point in their lives, had a trigger, or series of triggers, that hooked them. Maybe their Dad took them fishing. Maybe they rode in a friend’s boat.

My triggers came courtesy of my Dad who introduced my brother and I to boating when we were very young. I wrote about one of the boats he used to own here. This and countless other boating experiences forever instilled in me a love for the water.

Let’s face it, boating isn’t free. There are a series of financial commitments that have to be made. There is usually some sort of government involvement in the name of fees and registration charges. As a Raising Arizona fan, these encounters make me think of the immortal line from the woman handing out paychecks, who in response to our hapless hero’s expression upon seeing his check delivers a cigarette smoke filled yet twangy and heartfelt “the gubment do take a bite, don’t she?”

Despite the financial obligations along the way, the reward is out there. I don’t care what the vessel is, be it a kayak or a motoryacht. The magic is in the element. The magic is in the water.

In no particular order, without water and a boat these memories would not be:

  • the sound of water lapping against the hull
  • the sight of the sun dancing on the waves, sparkling like an infinite amount of diamonds
  • conversation with friends and family without distraction
  • watching dolphins play in my wake
  • seeing an incredibly variable and beautiful waterborne palette of blue and green
  • getting up on water skis for the first time
  • beach sailing a catamaran
  • learning to paddle a canoe and row a rowboat
  • swimming around the boat and viewing it as the water does
  • watching a full, taught sail and marveling at how quietly it does its work
  • the satisfaction of a ‘perfect’ docking, and the teaching of an imperfect one
  • the grandeur of either a sunset or a sunrise viewed from the water
  • sitting on the swim platform, feet in the water, enjoying a cold drink on a hot day
  • the rumble of a big block V-8. Better yet, two at once
  • creaking of sailboat rigging
  • making your own breeze
  • seeing the variety of sizes and shapes of other boats on the water
  • the clean smell of the open ocean
  • matching what I see on a paper chart with what is ahead
  • unlocking the mysteries of a single screw inboard making sternway
  • watching a bass come up to the lure I just cast upon a mirror smooth surface
  • going fast in rough water
  • adrift in smooth water
  • rafting up to friends’ boats
  • and so many others…

What are your favorite boating memories?

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