Will Boaters Play or Pay?
by Barb Hanson
the going gets tough, the tough…go boating.
didn't already know that big banks were folding, we're
reminded daily by bold headlines, shouting TV pundits and
screen images from Washington showing our representatives
wringing their collective hands.
always take bad news badly. Confronted by bad economic
news, our instinct tells us to start wearing a frown and
stop spending time on the boat. That's exactly wrong.
these are tough times but -- think about it -- now more
than ever we need our boats to help us keep on an even
keel emotionally and physically.
been down this road before. September 2001 comes to mind.
Things looked pretty bleak. Remember how worried we were
then about the future of our sport?
as you know, things got better. They usually do.
column I wrote then I said if you were a citizen of the
1950s you lived in an economy still recovering from the
great depression and a world war. Some made enough money
to buy a wooden boat just right for a rented five
horsepower kicker. Not bad in those days.
economy got even better. Fiberglass boats appeared.
Outboard motors got bigger and fast enough even to water
ski. Families traded in little boats for bigger boats.
Cruising boats got bigger and more comfortable.
the late 1970s gas prices soared because the oil-producing
cartel cut back on production. It was so bad that
President Carter said maybe boating should be banned on
weekends. That's how politicians think.
1980s our elected representatives, thinking that all
boaters were rich and richer, put a 10 percent luxury tax
on "yachts." A luxury tax, they called it. Boat plants
closed. Thousands lost their jobs. What were the
finally repealed that stupid tax. And things got better.
tough times will pass, too, and boating will have another
long run in the sunshine.
already seeing a silver lining. The slowing economy has
brought down gasoline and diesel prices.
when people put a sharp pencil to the calculation they
discover that boating is not nearly as expensive as they
imagined and often it is less expensive than other
I are getting into the lets-go-cruising mood and making
lists of friends we'd like to join us. In the past, we've
taken many friends cruising and some got so hooked on it
they bought boats, too.
media keep reminding us, times are tough and may be
getting tougher. Okay. But that doesn't mean we should
stop being with the people we love and stop doing the
things that make our lives whole.
also better for boating businesses and for competition,
which keeps prices low. Support your favorite marinas.
Dine at your favorite waterfront restaurants.
the companies that make boats or charter them. Support
them because, you know, the government will not. Only
banks get that special treatment.
boaters are going to pay. Let's not forget to play.