Saturday, January 8, 2011

Love of Water Sports

Get your mind out of the gutter! I'm talking about boating, skiing, SCUBA, etc. I didn't even know about the other kind until my first year of medical school. I couldn't figure out how SCUBA diving was at all a risk for HIV. Someone had to explain it to me.

Anyway, I love the water, and my dad has owned several boats over the years. The first one we got was a rubber raft with an outboard motor, and the last one was a 26 footer with a queen bed and small galley.

I thoroughly enjoyed those boats, but I don't think I would ever own one myself. When we would go out, we had to hook up the boat trailer, check the lights, drive this massive thing down the freeway (another point: you'd better be going local, because it's not like you can have your 26 footer as "checked baggage" on your flight ... even on Virgin America), pay for the use of the boat launch, park your truck (another side point: have to have a truck big enough to haul your boat) and trailer, and finally you could enjoy the boat. Once the day was over, it wasn't really over, because then you had to take the boat out of the water, drive over to the boat rinsing area to give her a terse cleaning, drive back home, then give her a real cleaning (or else you have a stinky boat that may even start growing things, and if you went into salt water, you can't let that sit in the engine).


Then there's the fact that you had to buy the boat, and unless you are rich, you've probably got a loan on it, which means interest payments, plus vehicle registration, onto which they add a luxury tax. Don't forget you have to maintain proper, functioning safety equipment aboard, plus boat insurance, and we always carried Vessel Assist in the event of an emergency (we never had one, but we did cross another boat that was stranded - without safety equipment or a radio - and we radioed for help for them ... didn't envy their rescue bill, nor probable coast guard citation).

Bottom line, for as much as I would probably use a boat, it would be more financially sound for me to rent rather than buy. Not that I've tried to rent a boat ... though back in the day, my family rented boats for a week at a time out on Lake Mohave in Arizona. We weren't rolling in dough, so I imagine it wasn't Bill Gates-type expensive. I calculated it once a few years ago, and I found that I could rent a yacht for a week for what my dad paid annually to maintain his boat. Granted, then I'd have to crew the yacht, but the point is that owning is very expensive.

If you own a boat, make sure you use the hell out of it every year, or you're throwing money down the ... poop deck.

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