Saturday, May 7, 2011

Boats "Vessels of Freedom, Harbors of Healing."

Why do people adore boats? Why do people go to great extremes to own a boat? US country singer/songwriter Kenny Chesney has a song titled Boats on his new CD Lucky Old Sun. In the song he sings:

"Boats.... vessels of freedom, harbors of, twenty years of a landlocked job was all that Tom could take sitting at his desk all alone and depressed (he) says this just can't be my fate, went home that night and told his wife (that) you can tell all of your friends it's been real but it ain't been fun (so we are) gonna get us one of vessels of freedom, harbors of"

I've listened to that song a hundred times and it gets better each time. He found the words I've always known were there but never could quite find them. Good for him!

As a boater myself it sometimes becomes hard to explain to non-boaters what the love affair is all about. Perhaps it's a sickness; at least it's a bug. Some of us use our boats as a home, treating her like a member of the family. I do have a habit of talking to the Patricia Ann; she speaks back but in ways only I can hear. She has become a refuge of sorts, a protected harbor. Sleeping in a motel room when I'm on the road just isn't the same.

I have friends that use their boats for an escape from life's stormy weather, relying on their boats to unwind from everyday stress. They take their sailboats, trawlers or motoryachts out to feel the wind on their faces, the sun on their backs. Their boats bring them peace. Others friends, have their boats equipped to make a living from the sea, as do the many shrimpers and charter boat Captains that ply the waters of our Florida coast. Their boats become a life ring, protecting them from the "storm" that waits at the cabin door.

But as a full-time waterman, I can say it's more than what it seems. Yes, it's a state of mind. Leaving the regular 9-5 world behind, knowing you have everything you need to sustain yourself and your crew for days and weeks on end. If I want to stay, I do; if I want to leave, I can do that too. Oh boats can be trouble and they take tons of work to maintain but us boaters consider it a labor of love. You just can't place a price tag on the feeling when you are at the helm, everything works as designed, the air is crisp and the sea is calm. It takes only one good sunset to make it all worthwhile.

Mark Twain, an American author eloquently said "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

So ask yourself, do you yearn for that feeling .

Spanish philosopher Jose' Ortegay Gasset once said, "Tell me the landscape in which you live, and I'll tell you who you are."

That pretty much sums it up. Fair winds.

Mike Dickens, the author of this article,  is the owner/Broker of Paradise Yachts, located in Florida USA. 

William L. Gills aka Bos'n Bill is the author of the book, Lubber's Log published by Llumina Press; a boating primer and adventure story about a couples experiences in moving up to a bigger boat.  


  1. I love going out on boats. Unfortunately, I had to sell my own boat and haven't been able to purchase a new one. For me, it was all about going out and forgetting what was going on in my life. It was just me and the open water.

    Now, whenever I go out, I go the charter route and look for a Charter Boat Captain who will make the trip enjoyable and worthwhile. The best captains and crews I have been around are the ones who, while I'm fishing, come over at the beginning of the fishing, ask if I need help, and when I say no thanks, they leave me alone for the rest of the trip, unless I ask for their help. To all those people, I say thank you for letting me enjoy my time of peace!

  2. Boating is a lot of things to a lot of people and I'd have to agree that peace and comaraderie with fellow boaters and the water are two of the big reasons we do it.

  3. Boating is a craze for many people and lot of people love this craze.
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  5. Nicely written - can feel your great affection for the water and boating. I agree on all front.