… on boating for dummies

The friend who appears in this photo (up front, looking under a wood thingie) has lost more weight than I have since we began our exercise regime this past summer. Though one part of my brain applauds her, another finds this fact unacceptable. So I blurred out her face.

We’re looking at boats.

I’m going to have to ask you to hold your tongue on this one.

No, seriously.

Because I have learned that, just as with announcing a pregnancy or rare illness or the fact that I don’t ski (again, please hold yourself back)… I proclaim these things, and then there is The Advice.

Much of it couched in The Passive Aggressive Humor.

Case in point:

Yesterday, I said – to someone I respect and love very much – that we are looking at boats.

He didn’t even pause before saying, “You know what the two best days in a boat owner’s life are don’t you?”

I held back the lightning bolts I wanted to shoot from my rolled eyes – through the phone – and sighed and answered, “The day he gets the boat, and the day he sells it?”

“Exactly!” said the person I seriously considered no longer respecting and loving as much as I did mere seconds before.

Funny guy.

But anyway… boat.

For more than thirteen years, we have owned this former inn by the sea that has a dock…but no boat. We even have a mooring… with a name! ‘Exile’ has hosted many a friends’ boat, but not one of our own.

So we’ve pretty much been living in shame for more than a decade.

But no more! We decided, late last year, that this was the year we would begin searching for a boat.

As the boating season began this past spring, we started to pay more attention to boat-related conversations. I mean, this was the world we were about to join! Lots of our friends have boats, and we have gratefully joined them on the water many times. But, as we were about to join their ranks as boat owners, we started to realize something.

They engage in… yes, this is hard to admit…

Boat grammar shaming.

I know.

I know.

It’s a hard thing to type out loud.

I mean, these are people I thought I knew.

But I am telling you. If I speak regular english in front of them – referring and/or describing anything that refers to boats and/or boat bits – it can get a little… well… let’s just say that I’ve actually heard several of my so-called friends mumbling corrections under their breath.

Which is grammar shaming!

Oh, I have examples.

Blurred Out Pam (see photo above): “What are you looking for on a boat?”

Me: “Well, I don’t think we want a potty closet.”

Blurred Out Pam: “Head.”

Me: “What?”

Blurred Out Pam: “Head.”



Me: “Fine.”

No, that’s not the only example.

Me: “How many ropes does Alex’s sailboat have?”

Chris (a.k.a., ChrisChrisChris): “Lines.”

Me, looking at Chris:

Me, glancing around the room to see if anyone will come to my defense:

Me (in my brain): ‘I’ll just go ask Alex.’

This has already been so far beyond the challenge I thought I’d be dreading, which was figuring out ‘port’ and ‘starboard’.

See, in science, they decided to use all these big fancy latin terms to describe stuff so all the scientists could use a common language to describe the same thing. I can get behind that. Because who wants and infectious disease researcher wasting time plugging something into a Google translator when you may or may not have just been exposed to a retrovirus?

Not me.

But that’s a medical emergency thing. What if there is a boat emergency?

I would like to know that if I screamed something like, “Oh my Gawd a wicked big shark (shah-k) just smashed up the back of the boat and just ate the potty closet and is closing in on the kitchen! Untie the ropes and get in the little boat so we can haul ass outa here!” that my friends – who are also on the boat in this example – would know what I mean and act… quickly.

But nooooooo.

Apparently, they wouldn’t know what to do.

So, as the shark was munching away, I’d have to grab the marine dictionary from my L.L.Bean Boat Tote, so I could instead scream, “Oh my Gawd a wicked big shark just smashed up the STERN and ate the HEAD and is closing in on the GALLEY! Untie the LINES and get in the DINGHY so can DEPART with great speed and immediacy!

*I added ‘great speed and immediacy’ for effect because I was feeling snotty.

But I have digressed once again and should probably circle back to the point.



Because guess what else I now know about boat language?

Front is not ‘front’, it’s ‘fore’.

Back is ‘aft’.

Parking is not parking, it’s ‘docking’. And also? There are no docking lots because those are busy being referred to as ‘mooring fields’ (sound ominous) or ‘marinas’ with ‘slips’ (the latter also seemingly fraught with danger).

A boat’s butt is its ‘stern’, but it’s underwear is its ‘transom’ (don’t confuse the two).

The ‘walls’ are called ‘ceilings’, and the ‘deck’ – which I thought was the floor? No. The deck is all over the freakin’ place!

Who agreed to this madness?!

You know what I think?

This is all a COLLUSION by the boat industry to sell more boats.

No, really. Here is how it works:

You think you want a boat so you go out on a heap of other people’s boats and you realize that you have to learn this whole new language and it’s really intimidating and it keeps you awake at night.

Until you come to the natural conclusion that…

If you want to be on the water without the pressure to speak said language correctly, you have to get…

Oh yes…

Your OWN boat.

This scam has been perpetuated on the masses for thousands of years and has resulted in a recreational boating industry in the neighborhood of two hundred billion dollars! And, I theorize, it’s all driven by maritime-oriented grammatical terrorism.

And we are – JoHn and I – about to fall for it.

But there is irony.

It seems that we can’t even order our own dang boat.

Because, and I’m not lying…

We have to ‘commission’ it.

Thanks for readin’.

You can comment below, or join fellow ponderers on Just Ponderin’s Facebook page… or both! You are in total control.




















%d bloggers like this: