This Monday Mood Mender is an excerpt from Gold Pans and Irons Skillets. As the weather warms we begin thinking about outdoor recreation and that can include buying a boat! Enjoy!
So You Want to Buy a Boat
Are you nuts! Maybe
you should wreck someone else’s boat first. There are a few facts regarding
boat ownership that one should be familiar with prior to purchasing a boat of
his own. These guidelines may very well save one’s sanity.
The first and
probably most important guideline is to buy a used boat. Do not be tempted by
the shiny paint and bright propeller of a new boat. The unblemished interior
and perfect upholstery will not add to the level of fun experienced by boaters.
Rather, they will elevate the level of stress the inexperienced boat owner will
encounter while developing his boating skills. Look for a well-loved boat—one
that has previously missed the trailer while loading, scraped up against an
unkempt dock, had its propeller dinged by unseen rocks, and/or possesses
rebuilt gears having had them stripped by a sandbar. This will not only reduce
stress levels, it will also save a great deal of money and grief.
there are hidden costs to boat ownership. Though the monthly payments seem
manageable, do not forget the rising costs of insurance, boat fuel, boat
licenses, life jackets and boating toys, picnic lunches, boat storage, doctor
appointments, insurance deductibles for boat repair, swimsuits, sunglasses,
sunscreen, ibuprofen, and a new hot tub.
Grief. A boat can
tear a hole in one’s heart in so many ways. The first time it gets damaged the
owner may feel as if one of his children has been diagnosed with an incurable
fungus. This will most likely occur on the maiden voyage in any number of
fashions. If one is fortunate enough to have previous trailer experience, the
jackknifed boat trailer may be avoided. If not, SUV may experience paint job
damage, as well. It is inevitable that the driver of the boat will, at some
point, miss the trailer while attempting to load boat. Hailstorms happen.
Upholstery wears out. Some reservoirs have hidden obstacles such as, rocks,
tree stumps, and sandbars. Boat plugs are small and cheap, but critical to boat
buoyancy. Do not forget the plug!
The second guideline
is to get help. Boats are not cars. They do not move like cars. They do not
steer like cars. They do not have brakes. The steering wheel is on the right
side of the boat, not the left. A valid driver’s license does not guarantee
competent operation of a boat. It is advisable to take a lesson, take a friend
(with boating experience), or hire a driver!
Bodies of water can
be deceiving. Water, unlike pavement, is fluid. It is ever changing. What may
lie well beneath the surface this week may be lurking just below the water line
next week, especially if the body of water is an irrigation reservoir during a
drought year. It is advisable to take a map, take a friend (that knows the
area), or use a depth finder. The latter is probably not the best option as
this is a well-loved boat. It lost its depth finder long ago.
unpredictable. Thunder. Lightening. Wind. Rain. Hail. It is advisable to get a
weather report, get the boat out of the water, and get to cover.
The third guideline
is to exercise patience. Not only is the boat owner new at this activity, the
boat riders are also new. Communication skills tend to develop slowly. While
driver can see individual in water behind boat or in front of trailer waiting
to help with loading, he cannot hear due to the roar of the motor and
propeller. There is a learning curve required to decipher hand signals, head
nods, and arm wavings.
boat was purchased for a reason. It requires practice to learn to enter a boat
free of muddy feet. It also requires practice to tie secure knots. Nervous
drivers sometimes do bring the propeller into contact with foreign objects. It
only takes a few minutes to swamp a boat, but boat will drain and dry provided
it can be rescued in time. Keep spare boat plug in glove box.
The fourth guideline
is to find joy in the ride. The motivation behind acquiring a boat was most
likely to have a good time, spend time with loved ones, and relax. It may take
time to accomplish this goal. It is difficult to have a good time or relax
while panicking over learning to launch, load, and operate one’s newly
purchased boat. Add a few scrapes and dings, discover that the boat still
floats, learn to water ski or catch a fish, improve communication skills, and
the experience will begin to be enjoyable. If, however, the motivation was to
keep up with the Joneses, the best bet would be to purchase a brand new boat
complete with shiny paint job and bright propeller. It would then be wise to
park it in a rental storage unit to preserve the newness, take a few snapshots,
and talk really big to the neighbors. The monthly payments and insurance will
still be due, however many of the added hidden expenses will be avoided—as will
Moral: If you love something enough, even its
imperfections are beautiful.