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Our First Boat

My wife and I were talking the other day about boats (what else?) and how we made the jump into boating. It really is a convoluted road that got us here, but one we are glad we went down.
Given my background, you would think it was only natural that we would be a boating family. As a very young boy, I spent many days with my dad out on the bays of the South Shore of Long Island fishing for flounder and snappers. At first, we fished from boats he rented and attached his trusty five-horsepower Johnson outboard to.
Eventually, my parents purchased a new twenty-five foot Sportcraft cabin cruiser with an inboard-outboard engine that he docked in Freeport. They kept that boat for roughly three years and we had a ball on her. We did it all, slept out many nights at Short Beach and had great meals using the barbecue that hung from a handrail out over the water. We made trips to Fire Island and spent hours upon hours fishing both in the bays and out on the ocean in all types of weather conditions.
It was the time we spent at Short Beach, watching the United States Coast Guard boats responding to emergency calls that set me on my path for the next thirty years after high school. While we were anchored in the cove I would watch as those boats got under way and thought that would be what I wanted to do. Helping boaters in need, maybe saving a life or two could be something for me. So right after I graduated high school in nineteen seventy-four, I joined the Coast Guard. I took a six-month delayed enlistment and worked out and ran every day. It made boot camp so much easier for me.
After boot camp, I went to Machinery Technician School in Yorktown Virginia. From there I was stationed at the small boat station on Governors Island in New York Harbor. From there I transferred to Station Eatons Neck by Northport Long Island. I was there for about a year and a half before I was discharged and went to work as a boat captain, eventually working for the National Park Service. About six months or so before I left the service is when I met my future wife. At that time, I owned a Honda 750 motorcycle and used it to go see her and her parents on my day off.
As time went by, we were engaged to be married and as often happens we needed some money to help pay for our wedding photographer. I sold the Honda to pay for the photographer with the understanding that someday I would get another motorcycle.
Fast forward about 14 years, and I got the bike bug again. I was building the Seahorse at the park and we had some money. I mentioned to my love about getting a bike, and she said sure. I believe she thought it would not happen. I knew I was getting an award for designing and building the Seahorse, and started looking at used bikes. They had come a long way since that 1977 750F I had. I had been looking at bikes for a few weeks and talking to Hank at work about it. Hank was hired to help me build the Seahorse, an all-steel 60-foot twin diesel boat. I had not known him for very long and could not vouch for his character.
One day I come home from work and Kathy is sitting at the kitchen table crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said Bob called and accepted my offer on the motorcycle! As I had not made an offer on any bike and also did not know a Bob you can see my state of utter confusion. Then when I tried to tell Kathy I did not know what she was talking about she removed her engagement ring and told me to use that to pay for Bob’s motorcycle. I was gobsmacked! I had absolutely no idea what was happening and tried over and over to console Kathy and get to the bottom of this. Slowly, I began to see a light, a faint spark of what happened. Hank, AKA Bob had called as Bob accepting the fictitious offer! I told Kathy what I thought was going on and she calmed down and took her ring back. The next day when I got to work Hank asked me how my night was. I chased him around the building for about 5-10 minutes until we had a good laugh over it. We are still good friends.
However, this did lead to my last machine, the red, white and blue Honda. One day Kathy confided in me that every time I went to work on it she was afraid I would be hurt. Not because of my superb riding skills, but because of someone’s poor driving. As much as I liked riding, I could see her fear and we sold that bike. We started looking at all sorts of boats up to twenty-three feet in length. It just so happened we were getting our taxes done and the accountant saw that I worked as a licensed captain and suggested we could purchase a larger boat to use as a business of some sort. I quickly set my sites on some larger boats eventually buying a used thirty-one foot twin diesel Rampage sportfishing boat we named MT Pockets! Kathy wanted and I agreed we needed something the family could enjoy together and boats have filled that requirement perfectly. As my sons have aged, they may not be able to be with us out on the water as much but when asked they always say how great it has been being out on the water together. And now that we have a grandson, we may get to introduce him to the fun of being out on the water.
In the end, it was the motorcycles that led to our becoming a boating family, and I am glad they did!