3 Lessons Learned From My Boat on Memorial Day

“The happiest day a boat owner has is the day they buy the boat and the day they sell the boat.”

I bought a boat after a bonus in 2004. It was beautiful. A handmade mahogany runabout. She was sexy and pretty and I felt powerful in it. I had never owned a boat before. So the first time I took the boat out happened to be Memorial Day.

The weather smiled upon us that day, and my family and I had an absolute blast. We reveled in the joys of cruising the lake, embracing the true essence of living life to the fullest. However, as the day progressed, the heavens grew restless. Dark clouds rolled in, turning the once calm waters into a turbulent frenzy.

Keep in mind, this was my first time steering a motor boat, and now I found myself in the midst of a storm, with two young children who couldn’t yet swim. As rain poured down heavily, tension mounted within our open vessel. After several nerve-wracking attempts, I managed to navigate the boat safely to the dock, but the challenges were far from over.

Now it was my wife’s turn to back the boat trailer into the water, while the weather grew more ominous by the minute. With white-capped waves crashing around us, our little ones crying, and stress levels soaring, the initial joy we felt was replaced by a sense of overwhelming pressure. With great difficulty, we finally managed to secure the boat onto the trailer, albeit with a big tilt to the port.

As we started ascending the boat ramp, I realized it was time to reload the boat. We turned around and headed back toward the water. The rain continued to pour, the wind intensified, and the temperature dropped drastically. Everything seemed to be going wrong. Driving down the steeply pitched boat ramp, I suddenly heard a loud thunk.

To my dismay, the boat started sliding past me on the ramp and collided with my car. I immediately pulled my car to the side, but the boat, now detached from the trailer, careened into a drainage culvert, leaving an unmistakable S-shaped gouge along its bow. It was a disastrous sight.

The boat was now stuck a foot deep in the muddy ditch, but thankfully, no one was hurt. Although I felt grateful for that, I couldn’t shake off the embarrassment and fear that consumed me. After pulling over and waiting for a tow truck, the boat was eventually repaired, and life continued. Yet, this experience taught me some valuable lessons.

Research! I learned this the hard way when it came to loading my boat onto the trailer. Lack of knowledge cost me precious time, resources, and even put my family at risk.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings! It’s easy to overlook the signs and dismiss the weather as a passing phase. I made the mistake of ignoring the storm clouds brewing on my first voyage, assuming they would dissipate. Instead, the situation worsened, putting us in a difficult spot. Always keep a close eye on your circumstances and make adjustments when necessary. Adapt your plans!

Skills Are Built Over Time! Mastery doesn’t happen overnight. Through ownership, I gradually honed my abilities. I mastered parking the boat on the trailer effortlessly, even in challenging conditions like white-capped waves. It’s through practice and perseverance that we develop the skills needed to navigate life’s rough waters.

Experience Is Invaluable! Classroom lessons can only take you so far. It’s the hands-on experiences that truly shape us. Whether it’s investing or boating, actively engaging in real-life situations provides priceless knowledge. Embrace every opportunity to learn and grow.

Last but not least, Laughter Heals! Despite the challenges, I’ve come to realize that a good laugh can help us weather any storm. It’s the ability to find humor in our mishaps that lightens the load and brings joy back into our hearts.

I love the boat. I haven’t gotten rid of it, yet.

My next happiest day of my life is coming pretty quickly.

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