Although we still have several weeks left in the boating season (fingers crossed!), I’m feeling totally reflective about our first year with our own boat. It’s been a new adventure for us, and to say that it’s enriched our lives would be an understatement. I now understand what all the fuss is about! All summer long, there’s been no place I’d rather be than out there on the water. It’s been an incredible way to enjoy Lake Erie and Cleveland to the fullest, while also learning how to adjust our own lifestyle for the better. Boating on the Great Lakes bears its own set of responsibilities and lessons, but today I wanted to share some of the little life lessons that our first year of boat ownership has taught us, that you may relate to if you’re a boater (or not)!
KEEP AN OPEN BOOK
You will learn pretty quickly that you don’t control your plans, the weather does. Especially on Lake Erie, whose shallow waters can be more fickle and reactive to weather patterns. We’re always looking to maximize our time on the water, so we try to allow for impromptu trips, should the lake gift us with super flat conditions. I get crazy FOMO when I know I’ve missed a good day on the water, so I keep my social schedule loose whenever I can. There have been random weekdays when Jim will just text me the lake conditions (“it’s flat! Let’s go!”), and we’ll pack a small bag and head out after work for a happy hour ride. We’re fortunate to live super close to our dock, so quick trips are easy and help us take advantage on short notice.
There have been many times where our “quick boat ride” turned into an all-night dock party, a trip to the Flats, or endless buckets of beer at the pool — whoops. Time just seems to slip away when you’re hanging by the water and it’s hard to even THINK about leaving when things get going. Our house is usually clean, picked up, laundry done — but we let a bit of that go this summer and we’re 100% okay with it. We loved living in the moment and going along with things as they happened, and that’s what it’s all about. You have to make room for the things you love and it it means you can’t get to your chores right away, that’s a good problem to have ;) We’ll have all winter to clean.
THE WIND IS YOUR FRENEMY
I never used to pay attention to the direction or speed of the wind in my weather app (quite frankly I barely knew it was there). We aren’t sailors, but the wind guides the waves so it’s obviously still very important. Winds 10 mph out of the Northeast is a totally different ballgame than 10 mph out of the South. In the latter situation, I’m packing the cooler immediately! Watching the weather like a hawk has become a new norm for us, and again, helps us take advantage of our precious time in the summer.
IT’S COOLER BY THE LAKE
Had to hit you guys with this one ;) But it’s true! Even on a hot summer day, the breeze at night can be surprisingly cool. I’ve learned to always bring a sweatshirt for myself or for someone to borrow — you don’t want to cut your fun short because you’re too chilly.
THIS IS 100 TIMES BETTER THAN WE THOUGHT
My goodness, I had no idea we were going to love this so much. We had been tossing around the idea of buying our own boat for years. We would go to the boat show at the IX Center with Jim’s parents every year and go back and forth — should we? Shouldn’t we? Would we use it enough? Obviously there were several factors weighing into our decision, but the time was right this year and we went for it. It’s just the beginning, and we both can’t wait for the years of fun and memories ahead.