Friday, September 06, 2013

The Boating Life

I spent a big chunk of late summer working on this article about boating culture and high-end boats for the Scene section of the Sun. It was not, I can assure you, the hardest thing I've ever had to research. Ask boat people what they love about the water and they will talk. Since I am a boat person myself, everyone I talked to was preaching to the choir. It's a good life.

Dixon and my brother on the bow of Bostonian, my parents' boat.
Unfortunately, this little thing called space constraints exists in the world of newspapers. Sadly, a huge part of what I learned from my sources didn't make it into the final article. I was especially sorry to lose some great stuff from a guy named Eddy who lives on his boat in Eastport - he was so much fun to chat with and is seriously living the dream.

I was also sorry that my friend Paul's comments didn't make it in the final article. He grew up on the Magothy and has lived in Key West and Hawaii. He gets boats.

Below is a bit of what I wrote that didn't make it to the final draft:

For many, time on the water satisfies emotional needs.

"It's the old man and the sea concept," muses Paul Jacobs of the US Boat Shows. "Your closeness to nature is very obvious. And there's a special feeling knowing you're captain of your own ship."

Bluewater Yachts' Chuck Meyers agrees. "When you untie the lines and start your cruise, you become your own island. There's a real sense of freedom, privacy and relaxation."

Boaters are individuals who seek to balance privacy and community, says Joy McPeters of Marinalife. "It's fun to have camaraderie," she says. "When you pull into a marina there's a whole boating community that's unique. Or you can drop anchor in a cove and have a more private experience."

The boating community is tight-knit and welcoming, says Tim Wilbricht, president of Annapolis Yacht Sales. "There's a strong bond between boaters. It's one of those communities where people look out for one another. It's like stepping back in time when you come onto a dock. It's more friendly. People jump in and help when there's a problem."

Even a short local cruise has benefits; when boaters talk about heading out on the water, their voices get dreamy. Whether under power or sail, "being on a boat changes your perspective," says Severna Park native Paul Brockett. "When you are on land, you can only see so far: the wall of the coffee shop, the bumper of the car in front of you, the computer screen. On a boat, you can see for miles. The sky is bigger, the weather means more."

It's a lucky life to have, growing up on the water.

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