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 office.
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 our forefathers signed the
Declaration of Independence. And while, after all
the centuries and decades we still debate what
freedom means, we know it is a word and a concept
we hold dear. We celebrate Memorial Day and the 4th
of July with flags waving and patriotism at a
fever pitch. It just feels good. And that’s where
boating comes in.
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 around us.
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.
I read an editorial recently in which the writer
made this point: “America is great, not simply
because we are free. America is great because with
that freedom, we choose to do good.” We have the
freedom to choose what type of nautical society we
want as well. And we choose to be good boaters,
and good citizens, because that’s the kind of
society we want on the water. That’s the meaning
of freedom that boating teaches to novice boaters
and old salts alike, every time we are on the
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, we relax and
re-charge, and then we return to port on our own
schedule. That’s the freedom of boating. And we
So, let freedom ring. Welcome Aboard.