I recently sold a boat to
a client. The seller had named the boat “CP
Free.” Not wanting to insult the seller by
saying something like, “what kind of a name is
that?” I waited until the deal was nearly done
before asking what the significance of the name
The boat owner told me
about how his business required him to always be
plugged in to his cell phone. Rather than the
kids being guilty of never putting their
electronic devices away, in this case it was Dad
who was always on his cell phone or checking
email. It got to be so bad that when he bought
the boat for the family to enjoy, the kids named
it “CP Free,” as in a “Cell Phone Free” zone.
The name was also the
mantra for the family while cruising. In fact,
whenever they were on the boat everyone had to
put their cell phones and other electronic
devices in a basket. No one was allowed to use
them while on board.
That got me thinking
about the technological changes that have taken
place in the 30 plus years we have been in
business. Naturally, many of those advances have
brought a lot of good to the world – advances in
technology, medicine and robotics that we could
not have imagined three decades ago. However,
there is a time and place for everything,
including a time to disconnect from
phones,iPads, computers, games, etc. Being on a
boat, spending time with family, friends and the
natural world is definitely one of those times.
We were on a boat in
Alaska a few years ago and there was a teenager
with his parents on board. He would sit in
his family’s cabin with his “gadgets” playing
games and what have you, missing most of the
beautiful natural wonders all around us.
His parents literally had to call him on deck to
come and see the whales, porpoises, glaciers and
whatever else came into view while the rest of
us were on deck all of the time – in jackets,
hats and gloves – so we wouldn’t miss one bit of
the natural splendor that was before us.
Here at home (and I’m
sure where you live, too) there are an
increasing number of restaurants that are
rewarding customers who turn off their cell
phones while they dine. I have also heard
other people say that when they go out to
dinner, everyone has to put their phones in the
middle of the table. If anyone has to use
their phone during dinner, they get to pick up
the tab for all at the table.
I’d like to see something
like that extended to boats. They all should
have a “gadget-free zone,” unless they are being
used as a navigational and/or weather aid.
Instead of looking down at your phone, look up
and around at the beauty that surrounds you.
We have a friend who
suffers from such a serious texting and Facebook
afflictions that she misses what is going on in
the world around her. Rather than enjoying the
sunset or watching the kids fish off the dock,
she is sitting there with head down tap, tap,
tapping away, missing that special time
together. That is the time when she could be
talking with her children about the birds that
flew by or the fish that they caught.
But if you do get a text,
tweet or a call while on board or with family
and friends, it would be OK to politely message
back -- Sorry can’t respond, I’m in a GFZ for
the next few days. I’ll get back in touch
when I return.
I like that and I think
it would work. We all need to “disconnect”
every now and then.