Mark’s Boat-Owning Dream Has Me Worried


Well, it has begun — the search for a live-aboard boat. I knew this day was coming, and I’ve been dreading it. But my husband Mark is in his element. He has worked his whole life for this moment.

Plus, it was Father’s Day. What could I say?

Last weekend, we drove from marina to marina, looking at boats for sale. Eventually, we will find one he likes, and he will sign official papers making him the proud owner of what I have heard is “a hole in the water into which you pour money.”

I believe it.

First of all, it needs gas to run. Anything that needs fuel of any kind is expensive to operate, long-term.

Second of all, when it isn’t running, it needs a place to sleep. I figure $3,000 to $5,000 a year in docking fees, and I am probably way low in that estimate.

Third of all, it is going to need repairs the same way our cars need repairs.

And, fourth of all, on those bright and sunny days when the breeze is ruffling our hair and everything is going 100 percent correctly, we will need food, water, ice, fishing poles, bait, life preservers and sunscreen. Add in a few pool floats and a swim noodle, and the cash register is heating up.

Mark doesn’t think like this.

Mark imagines us putt-putting toward Bimini Bay or the upper Northeast or Athens (yes, Greece), sleeping under Van Gogh’s Starry Night on some days and in swanky beachside resorts on others. He sees us lounging poolside with umbrella drinks, chatting amiably with Rockefeller’s great-great-great-grandson, or exploring rocky hillsides previously unknown to man or beast.

These are the dreams that make him happy. He gets a smile on his face just thinking about them.

He is seriously delusional.

I, of course, am a realist. Exorbitant costs aside, I imagine us putt-putting just over the line that puts us into international waters (where no one is responsible for us), where the engine will make a horrible wrenching sound, burst into flames and then explode, killing us both.

Or the boat could get seized by pirates who would make us hand over our jewelry, then walk the plank (the very short plank).

Or we could get caught in the biggest monsoon of the century with just enough time to lash ourselves to the mast so we don’t get washed overboard, and that is where they’ll find us three weeks later — starved, dehydrated and really, really sunburned.

I imagine not being able to sleep on the boat because it’s bouncy. I imagine resorts that are completely sold out. I imagine Rockefeller’s great-great-great-grandson ordering drinks for the entire bar and then disappearing, leaving us with the bill. I see myself reaching the top of a pristine mountain, twisting my ankle and rolling miles downhill through gravel, frantically grabbing for weeds that do not exist, until I plop into the bay, knocking myself unconscious on the side of our very own boat and sinking underneath the surf.

Yes, we have very different takes on this boat thing, but don’t tell Mark. He’s so very, very happy. The deluded usually are.