Co-Publisher’s Desk – by Ty Mellott
by Ty Mellott
So, as the summer months begin to remind us of exactly what heat is, we are reminded of how much enjoyment being on the water brings. Just in case you have not noticed, there are quite a few differences, but it has not stopped the boating community from appreciating what is genuinely loved…boating.
Although I was not fortunate enough to get out on the water during the Memorial Day weekend, I did see from social media that many did. I however, was able to get out on the water the following weekend, and was pleased to see that the Delta waterways were being used by so many. In fact, for what has been traditionally a slow weekend (the weekend prior and following a major holiday weekend) it was nice to see that many boaters were out having fun. It has been quite a few years since I have seen so much boat traffic on the water. I cannot speak for the whole of the Delta, but I can certainly attest to it being that way not only on the Mokelumne River, but also on the San Joaquin. It really felt in many ways like when I was first introduced to the Delta some 30 years ago.
So, what has changed? Maybe it was predestined that 2020 was to be a fantastic boating year regardless of the pandemic. It would be nice to say, but I think that Covid-19 had a huge part in it. The boat yards are busier than most can remember. Boat sales this year are for sure off the charts. A friend of mine and maybe yours, Pete Chrupalo, is now back in his expertise of boat financing, having just been hired by U.S. Bank in the marine loan department. Upon his first day, he was informed that boat loans up to the middle of May had a gain of 217% from the same time as a year ago. Boat use is way up, and that is not only pertaining to us that are seasoned, but a ton of newcomers to our past time.
Maybe in all of this, there is a silver lining that could not have been seen during the start. It did not take long for people to realize that isolation could be done elsewhere besides the safety of their dwellings. And of those who own boats, they became a nice option without a doubt. I think people who did not own boats prior to March of this year, when speaking to friends who owned boats, were also persuaded into the thoughts of owning one.
Northern California has always been hugely different from other boating areas of the country. Maybe in part due to the fact that Nor Cal offers so very much in the diversity of things to keep one and one’s family occupied. Having grown up boating myself, and in an area that did not offer so much, boating for me is not only enjoyed but purely a way of life. I cannot imagine myself not having a boat, and have owned or been around them for much longer than I have not. I cannot argue how one spends their time as it is yours, and you must do what makes you happy. But if you are reading this and own a boat, we are under the same beliefs of what makes us happy. However, with that being said, I believe that in some cases the joy of boating has been forgotten. You have the boat, so it must have at one point given you joy. Perhaps just an opinion of course, but just possibly other activities had taken precedent to the point that the boat sat rarely used, or not used at all. Again, we all do what makes us happy. I have a family, and our daughters were in plenty of sporting activities that took time and travel. Our oldest grandson plays baseball, and at one point considered not only one but two traveling teams. We did our best to even the playing field if you will, by giving equal time to all. But at best something was going to suffer. With everything being cancelled this year and the boat now remembered, it has given families the opportunity to introduce the idea of family boating back into the household. Boating is a passion and more times than not, that passion was built and reinforced while we were all kids, whether it be through family or family friends. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in a boat,” as quoted from The Wind in the Willows and a favorite of mine.
So, with that, I hope that long after the pandemic is over, we are all safe and sound first and foremost, but also that boating continues to be a major part of our lives. Not to forgo the other activities enjoyed, but at least to give boating the time that you may once have and more so the time it deserves.
I mentioned that new boat owners are coming out in force. Well in closing, as seasoned boaters we must try and remember we too were new to this at one point as well. Guidance comes in many forms, and you will never know if it is appreciated unless given. Take a chance and help someone whether it be in the form of directions to areas unknown, the simple demonstration in basic knots or seamanship or even assistance in docking or lending a hand on the launch ramp vs watching. Should it get any more complicated, pointing to a seasoned instructor such as our very own Captain Pat Carson might be just the ticket required. Regardless, make the new boater feel welcomed in any situation, and you very well may end up with a boating friend for life.
I look forward to seeing you on the water, and if you wish to share anything with me, feel free. firstname.lastname@example.org
Do not forget to view our online editions at www.recreationpublications.com. Please excuse the mess. At the start of the pandemic, our site was hacked and it has been a bumpy road getting it all back in place.