What Are Boats Good For?

I want to be sure to share some details of my motivation for wanting to get this boat. Here are some of the ways I’m thinking about it.

First of all, it’s a boat. I make no bones about that: It’s pretty much the pinnacle luxury item (That’s if you define luxury as something that is perfectly unnecessary. No one really needs to have a recreational boat. I’m not a lobsterman, or a shipping magnate, or even an island dweller needing to get off the island.) Even as an editor for a boating magazine I will not say I need to have one. Plenty of us do, and plenty don’t. But it’s okay to want one. That’s what I’m doing. I’ve wanted a boat for a long, long time. And fulfillment of such desires feels good. I like the idea of having it and having access to what it provides, which is a respite, and an escape.

The second reason I want a boat, as I’ve mentioned a bit already, is intertwined with my family. I want to fulfill a promise to my wife and daughter by improving their lives along with mine.

There’s a book by Ernest Hemingway to which I keep coming back. It’s called Islands in the Stream. You probably know it. And if you don’t you should. Here’s a gross oversimplification of one part of it. In the story the lead character is a fine artist, a painter named Thomas Hudson. He has three sons who visit him on Bimini for the summer. The middle son, Davy, hooks a huge swordfish one day. He fights the fish in the hot sun all day and his older brother is worried about him. Hudson tells the son (I paraphrase): If Davy catches this fish, he’ll have something inside him for all his life and it will make everything else easier.

I think I know what he’s talking about, and it’s what I hope to give my young daughter in a very real way with the boat. Many boaters know this secret, and they try to share it with friends, but it doesn’t always get across—the divide is too great. The secret is that the boat is the key to breaking out of the day-to-day, living and breathing—finding a life to live on your terms, in many ways. Boats take effort, but in a good way. There are other ways to do this and I expect that folks in the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere have other ways of forming these bonds and building a well of inner strength. I intend to use the boat to give my daughter a foundation of confidence and an understanding of her own abilities.

I know it won’t be easy. But has anything ever sounded so worthwhile? Not to me.

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What Are Boats Good For?

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