A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a local weekend boat show, not as an avid boater but rather as an advocate of SlideMoor Docking Systems. I have been drawn to many boat shows over the years at numerous venues for no better reason than to satisfy my own curiosity about what’s new in the world of boating and what I could not live without. But this was different.
I had worked many various industry trade shows throughout my career and watched as people who were required by their employer to attend give nothing more than a passing and disinterested glance at what was then an incredible opportunity or an ingenious solution to a problem they were facing. No emotion. Very little interaction. And not much enthusiasm.
But boats are cathartic. People who attend a boat show are happy to be there and show it every chance they get. They remain open minded and positive about new ideas and concepts. They bring their whole family and every member seems to enjoy the experience. And that passion overflows to each and every vendor, regardless of the product or service they are exhibiting.
But what is it about a boat show and boating in general that creates such euphoria, I thought? Is it the smell of new fiberglass or teak? The prospect of climbing aboard a shinny new vessel that is well beyond the budgetary confinements of the average family? The discovery of a new “miracle” potion lauded to make your boat look new again or a unique two point docking system designed to make docking easier for your first mate? It is in fact, all of these things and more.
Even outside the gleaming and polished world of a boat show, everything and everyone looks better when boating. Boating makes people smile. It re-instills in them a sense compassion, courtesy and a love of life. For a moment in time, it makes them more human
Don’t think so? Just take a look at the average waterway on a crowded Sunday afternoon. The same people who were drag racing each other on the way to the marina, weaving in and out of traffic while blowing horns and providing each other hand gestures that do not require the use of all five fingers evolve into civilized human beings while on their boat. Those very same people are now compelled to wave pleasantly at each other as they pass on the ICW. Or hover in anticipation of assisting a disabled vessel while trying to throw them a tow line. Or willing to surrender their very last beer to a stranger walking by on the sand bar who looks thirsty.
It’s irrefutable. Boats and boating bring out the best in people. The best day is the day you buy it and the day your sell it? I don’t think so. It’s all those days in-between that define the activity about which we are all so obsessed. And I’m very proud to be a part of it.
So the next time you’re having a bad day, take the rest of the day off and head down to the boat to test this theory. And if you are inclined to report back the amazing results, you’ll find me monitoring channel 16.