There are no perfect boats.
Accept this.Get over it. Move on.
Not even your first boat,
the one that floated in the bathtub, was perfect.
However, it did get you hooked on boating and
it got you thinking about your next boat. It would
be, of course, the perfect boat.
After all these years and
one or more vessels later, you are still engaged
in that quest, aren't you? (Well, if not, you're
not a boat owner. But if you intend to be, pay
attention. You can go to school on the mistakes
made by some people you will probably meet.)
Alas, there are no perfect
boats and there are no perfect people, either.
Combine the flawed ingredients of both parties
in this strange matchmaking brew, and the prize
moves elusively away. Perfection is not attainable
on the water planet. But, the impossible dream
Actually, I don't blame
the boats as much as I blame boat owners. The
problem, like the song says, is that we fall in
love too easily; we fall in love too fast.
Vic and I just returned
from the Miami Boat Show. Lots of beautiful boats.
Beautiful people. Lots of excitement. There appeared
to be a lot of flirting at the show and, one suspects,
much more -- love at first sight, short engagements,
and quickly-arranged ceremonies.
How long will these marriages
last before papers are filed?
Many do not know this but,
at Southwest Florida Yachts, the captains and
I have become marriage counselors, of a sort,
for our charter clients. Many of our customers
own boats but they like to charter, too. They
come to us and they confide in us, saying unkind
things about their boats back home.
The problems seem to fall
into several categories.
We married in haste.
Too many boat owners purchased
their boat before they knew what kind of boating
they really want to do. Maybe they bought a day
cruiser but they realized later they really wanted
to do more overnight cruising. A variation of
this are the owners who bought a big, complex
boat before their skills (or their checkbooks)
were up to the task. Boaters could avoid a lot
of expense and trouble if they analyzed themselves
before they analyze the boat. What do they say,
marry in haste; repent in leisure?
We can't buy a new boat
because we can't sell the old boat.
Marriage partners aren't
supposed to plan their divorce before they get
married, but we believe this is a good strategy
for boat owners. Boats stay the same, but people
always change. Once upon a time you liked to run
with a fast crowd, now all you want to do is take
a slow boat to nowhere. So, before you buy the
fast boat, investigate the possibility that you'll
want to sell it some day. When you do, will you
quickly find a willing buyer for it? A couple
of tips: Buy a well-known brand. Pay attention
to local boating wisdom. Plan an exit strategy.
We are just too different.
This is the sad situation
that occurs when the physical needs of your new
vessel exceed your desire to attend to them. The
boat cries out for constant attention: Clean me.
Oil my teak. Please pay attention to me. You don't
want to work; you want to cruise. Advice to the
lovelorn: Don't count on friends to help. Hire
somebody to pay attention to the boat. Or, sell
it and charter instead.
We should have bought
a ranch house.
They bought a double-decker
or a triple-decker boat but the owners didn't
realize how their legs would take a beating from
climbing up and down those steps. Their vessel
has many good years left, and so do the owners,
but they need a boat with fewer ups and downs.
Sell the two-story. Get a floating ranch house
instead. A variation of this is the problem of
the tall owner who refuses to duck when he goes
through passageways designed for short people.
I just wanted to get
a good night's sleep. She wanted to party.
This is where so many nautical
marriages go bad. Right from the start, the parties
are incompatible. You thought this vessel wanted
to cruise slowly and comfortably. Instead, all
she could do was get up on plane and go fast.
Two suggestions: Take a long test ride before
you buy. Talk to people who know you and know
If all else fails, don't
give up on your love for boating. There's another
boat out there, the perfect boat for you and yours.
Well, almost perfect.