When Vic and I leave the
dock a thought always comes to my mind, along
with a feeling of exhilaration. I think, Wow,
free at last. I'm free at last from the office
and all the minute by minute commotion of the
Don't get me wrong. Vic
and I love our work, and we work hard and long.
We don't get out on the boat as much as you might
imagine. So when we get to cruise, it feels like
freedom to me.
We Americans have been
living out our destiny of freedom ever since.
Still, after all the centuries and decades, we
still debate what freedom means.
We'll leave the ideological
debate over the meaning of freedom for another
time. As boaters, we care about the physical freedom
of getting in our vessels, untying the lines,
and sailing or powering away from the dock. For
us, the American "spirit" is synonymous
with the freedom of boating. Boating lets us escape
from our daily routine and lifts us up to a place
we long to be, close to that which we hold dear
- family, friends, and the beauty of the world
As boaters in America,
and especially in Florida, we are the envy of
many boaters around the globe. In our business,
our charter customers and boating students come
from countries around the world. We have the freedom
to buy the boat we want to buy, or the boat we
can afford to buy with the resources we have.
We have the freedom to cruise where we want to
cruise; to return home each night, or stay away
for weeks or months at a time. In fact, unlike
driving or flying, as adults we have the freedom
to pilot a boat with no federal license requirement,
whether we are qualified or not! Sure, there are
rules to follow and matters of nautical etiquette
to consider, but for the most part we boaters
police ourselves. When the Declaration of Independence
was issued there were not that many laws and even
less law enforcement. In those days the society
functioned because most people chose to do good.
They chose good because it was the right thing
to do, because that was the kind of society they
wanted, not because they were going to get hauled
off to jail if they choose evil instead.
We have the freedom to
choose what type of nautical society we want.
And we choose to be good boaters, and good citizens,
because that's the kind of society we want on
As far as recreation goes,
boating offers freedom of another kind. When was
the last time you waited in line to go boating?
Think about it. There are no serpentine lines,
ticket-taking lines, hand-stamping lines, conveyor-belt
boat moving lines, "is your vessel this tall"
lines, boat "fast-food" lines (or is
it "fast-boat" food lines? Whatever.),
or "please take a number" lines! We
leave the dock, we cruise, and we return to port
on our own schedule. That's the meaning of freedom
that boating can teach to landlubbers.
So, let's go boating. Welcome