Last weekend a new Yellowfin pulled into our marina. Shiny black hull 40-plus feet, four black Merc outboards, black T-top with matching black outriggers, and two satellite domes on the hardtop painted matching black, of course. “Oh, to have that boat,” I said to my wife, envy written all over my face. “It’s a beauty, alright, but I wouldn’t want it," she responded. "You see those two satellite domes? They tell me that boat is always connected to the world. For me, that would defeat the true benefit of being out on the boat – being disconnected". And, after thinking about it, I realized she was right on.
Guess that’s why we don’t have sat-anything on our boat. In fact, one of the joys of fishing or cruising offshore in the Gulf of Mexico is that we leave our computers behind and, once we’re about seven miles out, even our cell phones quit working. That is just the way we want it. Being connected only to the water and each other is what owning our boat is all about. So, there is a genuine truth that the boat means being connected “live and in person,” and that is the product every sales person in our dealerships is really selling.
As incredible as it may sound, the average person now reportedly spends more than eight hours per day looking at a screen - TV or computer! Teens text or receive an average of 75 messages per day. Ever find yourself sitting in front of the TV with your laptop going? I do . . . gives new meaning to multi-tasking. The very devices that have so improved our lives, increased our knowledge, accelerated our communication, even bring us instant news about the Kardashians (how did we ever live without that?) are also the connection to the “rat race” from which we want - make that need - to escape.
I’m not knocking the lucky owner of that Yellowfin, mind you. I’d love to own a boat like that, less a little equipment. I’ve always believed the choice of every boat is a reflection, if you will, of its owner. It’s a personal choice – that may be why we have so many brands and models in this industry. One model is this man’s delight, another man’s poison, and so on.
Accordingly, if the Yellowfin’s owner can’t or doesn’t want to be disconnected, I respect his choice. However, my guess is that doesn’t reflect the majority of boaters. They’re more like me . . . drawn to boating because it does disconnect us from the “rat race” and, in turn, connects us with family and friends in an experiential way. Moreover, it doesn’t matter if it’s a ski boat or a cruising auxiliary. All boats offer the opportunity to disconnect, if even for only a few hours.
There is no doubt being out on the water can leave us feeling happier and less pressured. Indeed, a day anchored up with a fishing line over the side, feet up, a cool beverage in hand and time to simply slow down and think about things can put a lot of today’s complex living into a reasonable focus. Yes, we in the boating industry are selling a sure-fire way to disconnect. It’s a great thing, so let’s remember to keep on selling it!