The very off season

You’re probably wondering how this winter is going to work out. Yes, there are charter destinations available and sunny climes with boats, but are we going to be able to get there?


By John Morris

My own collection has already grown to two

You’re probably wondering how this winter is going to work out. Yes, there are charter destinations available and sunny climes with boats, but are we going to be able to get there? If not, I have compiled a list of pastimes that will keep you occupied during the season when you would be off on a different boat adventure.

Knitting – Most boaters are not strangers to tangled lines, so you already have a jump on knitting. The knitting needles are like scaled down boat hooks only when you manipulate them you get a nice sweater. As a bonus, that’s significantly more appealing than the slime covered mooring line you snag with your boat hook off the guano-covered tire at the marina.

Snow skiing – while some boaters are familiar with snow skiing, for those who are not, it’s basically water skiing with the water frozen, which seems ridiculous. Just a note, you cannot wear that flashy fuchsia bathing suit.

Philately – before email was invented, people used something called “mail”, which involved writing on paper, placing it in an envelope and sticking a “stamp” on it. These stamps often had a royal portrait or, more excitingly, a boat like the Bluenose or Miss Supertest. Some people, presumably with a lot of time on their hands (that’s now you in the off season, alas) collect them and store them in albums in the basement. Taking those albums out once a year is a delight for those collectors who actually enjoy the kind of mildew odours your bilge so abundantly produces.  Perhaps you and fellow philatelists can happily share that scent.

Bird watching – you get to use your binoculars. Beyond seagulls and cormorants, there are some other, smaller birds that migrate much as boaters used to before border restrictions and vaccine passports were conceived. Your foul weather gear will also be useful since ornithologists often take pleasure standing in a swamp in the rain. It will remind you of an early season line squall.

Music – beyond the dock party and waterfront bar featuring a Credence Clearwater or Jimmy Buffet cover band, there is a world of other music. Concerts even.

Alternate eating – during the boating season you might easily think that the world survives on beer and margueritas or possibly other beverages with small paper umbrellas. Here’s your chance to explore blueberry basil kombucha, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, walnut milk and low-fat coconut milk. You might take a look at kefir. Yes, people drink that. There’s a whole alternate universe just a YETI mug away.

People to talk to – you have probably already figured out that, oddly, some people are not boaters. What you may not yet have learned is that some of them are very nice, interesting individuals.  They are easily engaged so you can discuss world events (see Note 1) or their families (see Note 2) or even go to a non-nautically themed restaurant and enjoy a dinner that is not clam strips and fries.

Note 1: World events are largely non-boating-related occurrences involving politics, health or other news. Most of this has nothing to do with boats (surprisingly) but is often of national or international importance.

Note 2: People who don’t own boats nonetheless often have relatives, children and even grandchildren. Since they are not boaters, they cannot invite them for a day on the water, but they do other less interesting things with them. Soon they will be planning holiday festivities and even shopping for gifts like non-folding bicycles or non-waterproof clothing. There are stores and stores filled with this stuff. You can purchase gift dinnerware, or even bathmats that have flowers or spaniels adorning them rather than anchors or signal flags. Who knew?

In summary, it’s going to be a long winter, but by taking up some other interests you will get through it. When you eventually re-acquaint with your boating friends you can briefly describe the other things you did, apologize, and then get back on the boat.


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