Florida Boating

Saturday, June 12, 2004

VIEW FROM THE MARINA: The Boat and Boater Personality

Many dog owners look and act like their dogs. In fact, many boaters look like their boats. But the thing that fascinates me is how similar boats and boaters are in their personalities.

Vic and I, students of marine behavior that we are, have made these observations based on 20 years of chartering, schooling, concierging and yacht brokering to boats and boaters of all personalities.

Trawler Man and Mrs.
Like their vessel they’re serious and solid, as dependable as the diesels pushing the boat. Their boat has a nomadic and dreamy name like Odyssey or GypSea. He and she are as keen on enjoying every mile as they are in getting to the destination. If it takes three days to get there instead of two, so be it. Like most trawlers you see on the water, Trawler Man and Mrs. have chalked up lots of miles and have stories to tell. But they are game for many more expeditions and look forward to telling you about them in wondrous detail.

Trawler Man likes to wear a dark Greek fisherman’s cap. It looks a lot like the Bimini top on his flybridge. Like his boat, his accoutrements are more comfortable and durable than stylish. Trawler Man stands tall and proud, like his boat, which is a good thing because it wouldn’t be right to ask Trawler Man to stoop in the head or the deckhouse.

Mr. Go Fast
You have, of course, Mr. Go Fast. Like his boat, Mr. Go Fast is known for his styling and performance as well as the company he keeps, typically younger females wearing thong bikinis. His boat is made from space age materials and designed with positive lift surfaces. That’s not unlike the botox and other space age nips and tucks that Captain Speedy may also know something about.

His boat is young and, although he is not, he still enjoys the chase. He wears an open collar exposing silver hair and a gold chain. Like his boat, his shirt will sport custom graphics of very endowed young women. His boat is named Toys in Babeland, Miss Behavin’, Aquaholic or, of course, Wet Dream.

Captain and Mrs. Motoryacht
Like their vessel, Captain Mark and Marilyn Motoryacht are well-appointed, physically attractive and socially-popular. Their outfits are often in the same color schemes as the fabrics on the boat. Mr. Motoryacht never leaves port without his billed captain’s hat. While cruising both the owners on the fly bridge and the vessel strike impressive profiles and merit appreciative and envious looks.

Hardship is something they may have endured when they were younger and working hard to get ahead. Today, though, at the dock or on a cruise, the Captain and Mrs. want everything they worked for, including the assurance that two-tons of house batteries will deliver on demand all warm or cold air and fresh water they will need while on the boat.

The welcome aboard sign is always out on their vessel. The motoryacht and its owners work like a team, impressing and smoothing out life for guests in the large salon, dining room, fly bridge, and assigned stateroom.

The names they choose -- Liquid Asset, Mutual Fun, or Sea Ya! -- tell us they have made it financially and that this is their reward:

Houseboat Hippy
The boat and the skipper were at the top of their game in 1970 and not much has happened to either since then except longer hair and more potted plants on the roof and stern. They are still liveaboards squatting on houseboat row, thumbing their attitude at anybody who works and pays taxes. Their motto is living in harmony with the earth but, apparently, earth does not include the water portion which is expected to process the effluent from these two aging vessels.

Most of these boats don’t have names. What’s the point? They never move.

Sir and Madam Self Sufficiency
You will spot my heroes at the tiller of a sail boat relying on their skills, their good judgment, and just a tiny breeze to reach nirvana. The skippers and their boat do what they do well, over and over, season after season.

Sir and Madam Self Sufficiency know that the life’s luxuries are ephemeral things and that life is lived best when you count on yourselves and your trusty vessel, not on others, not on luxuries. Sailing, like life, is learning to accept the bad and the good in a measured way. So what if the wind dies? So what if the crackers are stale? That monofilament hanging off the stern could mean fresh fish tonight.

Their boat is like its owners, durable and flexible, accommodating itself to what nature dishes out, the good and the bad. It expects to match wits with the elements. It doesn’t expect a compliment when the wind’s at its back. This is life, after all, might as well enjoy it. The name on the transom? Serenity, Solitude, or, perhaps, Destiny.

What’s your boating personality? There’s a boat out there for you and countless islands yet to explore. Remember, it’s not the vessel or the destination that are important, it’s making the journey.

© 2004. Southwest Florida Yachts. All rights reserved.