To Have and To Hold
by Barb Hanson
Becoming a boater is a lot like taking a spouse.
the vows spoken to our beloved, we each made unspoken
promises to our new boat to have and to hold, from this
day forward, in sickness and in health, and perform
cruise we poured a little champagne on the bow and drank
the rest. Giddy we were on the maiden voyage, picturing
the two of us cruising forever, lifelong partners. We
understood, of course, that this marriage, like any, would
require regular maintenance and time. Actually, we looked
forward to it.
As with all relationships, the
true test came after the honeymoon. We often hear people
say, "We used to spend more time on the boat when we
first got it.” Responsible reasons are offered up.
Children were born. They required more of your time. The
job was increasingly demanding.
Strolling around Marinatown Marina recently, on another
beautiful Florida day, I realized I didn't see many
familiar boating faces. Boats rested comfortably in their
slips, but they seemed lonely to me.
economic mess persuaded boaters not to spend as much time
on their boats as they used to?
Is the 24-hour/7-day negativity about jobs, homes and
stocks keeping boaters from doing the thing they love the
most? I fear this.
It seems to me
that now is the time for boaters to be with their boats.
Boats float and they move gently in their slips,
but they are our rock-solid safe havens from the cares of
I think it's
time for many boaters to work on restoring their
One way to do this is to spend time with their boat and
give it some tender loving care. Like a marriage,
sometimes the longer you have the boat the more it
It's comforting to you and, I
imagine, also comforting to the boat if you have boat care
people who perform regular maintenance and upkeep. (This
is one of the grand benefits of putting your boat into
charter, by the way.) But, you know, you can do it
yourself and enjoy the rewards that come to
know the drill. Tend to the engine, changing the oil, oil
filters, fuel filter, impellers, etc. as necessary. Grease
the fittings. Top off the fuel tank. Start and run the
Check the electrical system and
all the electronics. Do the batteries still hold their
charge? Is the marine radio still sending and receiving?
Squirt some corrosion-proof lube on the connections.
Scrub, hose, dry, oil, wax.
Cover parts of the boat that get the full blast of sun.
bought our boats we didn't recite "until death do us part"
but there was an implied commitment to make the
relationship work. If we're no longer able to make that
commitment, then maybe a trial separation is in order.
Just remember, it isn't the boat's fault.
advice is, do the routine maintenance. Hold on to what you
this labor of love you'll feel better and your boat will
look terrific. Invite some friends to join you for an
afternoon cruise. Tell them how much you love your boat.
Oh, and tell your spouse, too.