Have you noticed how many books about Heaven
have become bestsellers in the past few years?
There was “Heaven for Real,” “Proof of Heaven,”
and some others.
That got me to thinking about some of the people
who have enriched our lives here on earth. I
wonder, did we enrich theirs? When we cruise
into the real “paradise,” or rather the
“entrance channel,” I guess we’re going to find
For example, I wonder sometimes about the bridge
tenders we’ve radioed over the years, faceless
and patient, who know us only by the name of our
vessel, the sound of our voices on the marine
radio, the urgency of the horn. Will I meet a
bridge tender in heaven? What will he say to me?
How about friends and fellow boaters we lost
last year like our good friend and boating
author, Claiborne Young. I’m sure Claiborne is
already at work on a Cruising Guide to the
waters of his new heavenly home, exploring every
river and inlet.
I think except for this or that happenstance we
would have never met certain people who made our
boating trips so interesting. What compelled us
to pull into this marina and not another? Why
did we take the dinghy to this restaurant, and
not that one? The boating life is particularly
When you have operated a fleet of 15 private
charter yachts, sail and power, for 30 years as
Vic and I have you meet a lot of nice people.
Dockmasters have scrambled to find slips for our
vessels at the last minute. Young assistants
have rushed over to help our charters tie up
during a hard rain. People in the slips next to
our yachts have offered help, supplies and
friendship. We have had engine repair
specialists come to our vessels -- sometimes in
remote locations -- and work late into the night
to fix something. We’ve had workers rushing to
finish a bottom paint job so a boat would be
ready for its next charter. I dressed these
heroes in imaginary wings on earth. I’m certain
they’ll be issued real ones in heaven.
Some of those books about “Heaven” helped me
gain a new appreciation for the people we meet
on the water -- mechanics, dockmasters,
bridge-tenders, dockhands and marine operators,
for sure, but also all the people who take a
chance and open new waterfront restaurants,
repair shops and so forth. If we don’t support
them, I wonder sometimes, will those special
places go away? If they do, so will some of the
pleasure of boating.
And so, ask not what other boaters can do for
you but what you can do for them. Consider the
possibility that the boat you almost upset with
your big wake will be the boat first on the
scene when you run up on that sandbar ahead.
Will they throw you a line?
Vic and I are grateful for all of the people who
take their jobs seriously and therefore make
boating as great as it is. We boaters have to
take care of one another. The authorities aren’t
really geared to help us except in cases of real
emergencies, and by then it may be too late.
So, my resolution this year among others is to
look after those in our boating family as they
have looked after us.
I think of it this way: the person we treat well
today could save our lives or the lives of our
boating customers and friends tomorrow.
Otherwise, when we arrive at that that big
marina in the sky we just might have a hard time
finding a slip.
Pass it on.