Florida Boating

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


By Barb Hansen
December 2010

Airport body scans and pat downs have spiked the debate about how far we should let government intrude on our personal and private spaces.

Are these procedures really necessary? I don't know. If they stop a terrorist then I suppose we can say that the procedures did what they were supposed to do.

But we don't have to like them. In fact, the airport hullabaloo and other worrisome developments in the world have given me that "Stop the world I want to get off" feeling. And when I get that feeling, I know just what to do. Get on the boat.

Plop, plop. Oh what a relief it is.

Chartering boats is my business but after all these years (26 going on more) of being in the biz it still feels great to be on a boat, even when I'm not going anywhere. Fortunately, Vic and I share a passion for cruising. So, start the engine. Untie the lines. Goodbye world, for now.

In an imperfect world with an increasing lack of personal freedoms, water draws an exemption. Water is the wild blue yonder, the great escape, the last frontier.

Of course, boating has rules and regulations, too. But it doesn't feel that way. This is a world where you rarely see a law enforcement officer yet everybody pretty much obeys the laws anyway. On the water the feeling is that we are in charge, not Janet Napolitano.

At the airport if the attendant says "Have a nice flight" it sounds too automatic. When our friends in the next slip say "Have a nice cruise" we know they mean it. We don't have to file a float plan with the government but generally we do leave one with marina friends … just in case.

I know, I know. We can't completely escape this crazy world on a boat but boaters know that it comes pretty close. Just sitting on the boat rocking gently in its slip or at anchor is like being in a different world. Scenery is different. Sounds are different. The marine radio doesn't broadcast the news of the day.

I also get a thrill helping charterers plan their boating vacations on the water and another thrill hearing their excited stories when they return.

The new airport screening procedures are sure to generate transportation winners and losers. Airlines will be losers, I suspect. Auto travel will be a winner.

In my world boating is always a winner. You don't have to buy a boat to be a boater, you know. Increasingly families are passing up boat ownership in favor of boat chartering.

Chartering yachts is what we do. Airline travelers who have had it with security procedures will be glad to know we don't have any metal detectors or full body scanners and nobody will pat you down. We don't charge extra for luggage, either.

Welcome aboard.


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