Most folks are weary of the pandemic and its impact on daily life.
By the same token, you cannot help but marvel at the changes to society at large and to our own lives that seem here to stay. As I write this, Thanksgiving is a week away but there is no question that the holiday spirit is in full swing…and I mean that in a good way. Sure, it is a bit staggering to see Christmas merch lining the aisles at Costco in early November. But I honestly believe that it is in part because “the market” wants to celebrate. It has been rough, and it carries on, but we seem to have survived a very nasty bout, or at least learned to cope with it.
One change, the rapid expansion of interest in boating in the last two seasons, I think especially here in the Northeast, has been amazing. I know that longtime golfers are a mix of disgruntled and joyful about how many new people have taken up their sport. Disgruntled because it’s harder to get a tee time, new golfers can be very slow, and they often blindly violate a whole host of etiquettes honed over centuries. By and large however, the additions to “the community” have made everything more vibrant and fun around the links. I hear that the same phenomena goes for the camping community. Although, I am guessing that those who try to get away to the woods are not happy about hordes of folks seeking the same thing.
So where does that leave sailors, fishermen and boaters generally? Are we going to act like the grumpy ranger at the golf course watching the novice tee off from the blue tees? Or worse, like the low handicap linksman declining to join a newbie foursome? The equivalencies on the waterfront are plentiful. Some deservedly so and some far more serious since the environment we play in is inherently dangerous and an untrained – or worse – arrogant newcomer does pose a real threat to themselves and others. But that drum does get beaten a lot.
What I am hoping for is a more welcoming approach. What if all of us could act like the uber friendly golf teaching pro, and steer new sailors to the countless learning opportunities, from Safe Boating courses to Safety-at-Sea seminars. Perhaps we could be quicker to lend a hand, with everything from securing a dock line to sharing knowledge about tying a knot, flaking a mainsail, or bleeding a fuel system. Or even just offering a kind word for that boater struggling to get in the slip will help us retain the new folks. A growing community is far more healthy, fun and vibrant than an exclusive domain for the crusty.
It would be arrogant of me not to say at this point, “a rising tide lifts all boats!”
See you – being nice – on the water!
Benjamin V. Cesare