by Paul Esterle
Here are some sure-fire ways of telling that it’s springtime in the boatyard…
1. Cars begin driving up and down the lanes between the boats (have they forgotten where their boat is?)
2. Cars are starting to park in the empty spaces and their occupants can be seen walking between boats (still looking for their boat?)
3. Ladders begin to appear propped up against boats.
4. More and more of the zippered doors in shrink-wrapped boats are open and have one of the above mentioned ladders next to it.
5. Tarps begin to show signs of being loosened and hastily retied.
6. Traffic at the local marine stores begins to pick up. Shoppers are seen leaving the bottom paint section with glazed looks on their faces.
7. Marinas stop answering the phone after the hundredth call that day asking about open slips.
8. Boat owners who couldn’t get through to their marinas stop by to see how soon they can schedule their splash date (do they remember first in—last out?)
9. Extension cords start to snake through the boatyard to the closest electrical outlet. Those who forgot to coil up their extension cord last fall discover what a snow plow does to a cord lying on the ground.
10. Boat catalogs start appearing on the end table or in the bathroom.
11. Boaters start asking each other “What’s the best bottom paint?” or “What wax do you use?”
12. Boat owners suddenly realize that all that woodwork they took off the boat last fall for varnishing is still in the basement, unvarnished.
13. Those that did do their varnishing during the winter are now busy looking for the boat keys they last saw in the fall.
14. Spouses realize they are running out of time to get the “honey-do” list finished before the boating season starts.
15. Charts and cruising guides clutter the dining room table, with note pads full of latitudes and longitudes nearby.
16. DVD’s of “Wind”, “Captain Ron” and “Master and Commander” start appearing in the DVD player on a regular basis.
17. The TIVO gets switched from “American Idol” to “Shipshape TV”.
18. The captain starts casually mentioning that the GPS that worked fine all last season was actually suffering from a terminal malady and will probably need replaced with the latest and greatest. (Only a couple of boat units, Honey!)
19. That rustling sound is of checks being written for slip fees.
20. That sucking sound is the sound of your money leaving your bank account.
21. More than normal attention is being paid to the weather forecasts for the weekends.
22. More and more errand trips end up at the boatyard.
23. In extreme cases, new or used boat brochures start appearing around the house, usually accompanied with statements like “Honey, you won’t believe what they’ll give us on our old boat!”
24. Sales of sandpaper, paint brushes, masking tape and wax start to peak at local stores. Non-marine oriented store managers can’t figure it out.
25. The yard workers finally take off their Carhartt’s.
26. Those same workers are trying to remember where they stored the slings for the travel lift.
27. At least half of the owners of gasoline powered boats just remembered that they forgot to add stabilizer to their gas last fall.
28. Half of those owners suddenly realize they also forgot to winterize the boat’s water system.
29. Southern boaters stop telling their northern neighbors how great the boating was this winter and start looking for a berth north of the hurricane zone to satisfy their insurance company.
30. Nor’easter starts publishing two issues a month instead of the winter once a month schedule.
31. Propellers dinged last fall will suddenly start appearing at prop shops for repair. The owners of those props can’t understand why the turn-around time quoted at the end of last season no longer applies.
32. Ditto for canvas shops, fiberglass repair shops and outboard repair shops.
33. The ice has all melted in the marinas, pilings are being repaired and docks are being prepped to put back in place.
All these are all signs that spring is just about here in the boatyard. Now where did I put those boat keys?