Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Whither Boat Guy?

There are few things you can guarantee in life--but I can safely guarantee that I will never be a "boat guy".  First off, as someone who believes that drowning has to be the absolute worst way to die--"fun on the water" is an oxymoron to me.  I tend to agree with author Samuel Johnson who said "Being on a Ship is like being in prison--with an increased risk of drowning."  I mean, what do people do on boats other than get sunburned and drink?  Secondly, no one who owns a boat seems to use it that much.

That was reinforced over the weekend as four guys I played golf with in my tournaments heard or saw boats out on Lake Butte des Morts or Green Lake and said "Hmmm, maybe we should use the boat sometime this summer."  Boats must be like time shares.  You get sold on "fun and excitement and quality family time" that you are sure come with owning a boat--and then slowly come to the realization that you are never going to come close to getting the value from the thing that you've had to sink into it.

I have a friend who tried to be a "boat guy".  Big dreams of cruising up and down the Fox River and Green Bay--towing the kids on the tubes, fishing for walleye, weekend trips to Door County.  And then came Little League practices, games and tournaments, off-season hockey camps, a cousin's wedding out of town, graduation parties, vacations out of state, weekends with bad weather, and funerals.  Not to mention the damaged hull from when the wife thought she could operate it from the boat landing to the dock and the engine and propeller problems--likely due to lack of usage to keep everything properly lubricated.  That friend recently became "ex-boat guy" earlier this month--agreeing with the old adage that "the happiest day of a boat owner's life is the day they get the boat--the second happiest day is when they sell the boat."

And it's not just busy family men that don't use their boats.  My parents have a pontoon.  They've been retired and living at the cottage since April.  Everytime my wife and I ask about how much fishing or cruising they have done, the answer is always "not that much--we're too busy with other stuff."  People with absolutely nowhere to be and nothing to do don't even have time to use their boat!  And yet--just like the time share market--new people are willing to jump into the "boating lifestyle".

That won't be me.  I've got my golf clubs and that will be my pursuit for the rest of my life.  And believe me, we'll be spending plenty of time together until I'm too old to hit it past the ladies tees.

The next time I hear someone say "we spent way to much time on the boat this summer"--it will be the first time I've ever heard someone say it.  At the beginning I mentioned there were few guarantees in life. I can guarantee every guy with a boat is now saying to his wife, "You know what--we hardly used the boat at all again this year."  And remind me this winter to talk about "boat guy's" seasonal cousin "snowmobile guy". 

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