Boat Owners See Things Differently

Heading out on the water in your own boat is a unique experience with unexpected rewards.
Heading out at high tide
Boaters are privileged to see things differently than those without boats. What do you see in this photograph? Kevin Falvey

Boat owners get to see the world in different ways compared to those without a boat. This should come as no surprise, since the change in point of view occurs, and is evident, immediately.

Step aboard and the boat gives way under your weight. Slip the lines and head out and you begin moving in multiple dimensions:up, down, sideways…in multiple directions simultaneously. A boat in the water is always moving.

Such incessant motion might cause panic on land. But aboard a boat, it signals that we have left our natural element. There are different rules on the water and so we must think of things in different ways. Stopping takes more time and advance planning. Changing direction and we change the amount of movement we will experience and may even get a face full of the element we ply upon! Speed up or slow down and our experience of being in the same place changes again

Albert Einstein, and later, other physicists, put forth in the special theory of relativity that an observer’s position can change an event. Is it coincidence that Einstein grew up aboard boats and remained a boatmen for his entire life? I like to think not.

The physical changes wrought by boating prove healthy, working our minds and bodies in ways different than when we stay ashore. But, other things change too. How we feel and think about things

Read Next: Boating Technology Versus Seamanship

For example in the accompanying photo, we can see a dock, a bird, a boat, a boatyard a marina, a rising moon… Boaters and the land-bound see the same things. But, as a boater, I see that it’s an exceptionally high tide, since the dock is covered in water. I think about heading out with extra caution as big tides tend to set adrift all kinds of flotsam that’s normally too high on shore for the water to reach. The full moon will give me some solace in this regard though, because as a boater, I know that a full moon provides plenty of light on the water. And, I know I’d have to face stronger currents when such a tide ebbs.

Further still, pleasant thoughts and strong emotions well-up as if synched to the tide, and memories of countless moonlit trips flood the creeks, and sloughs and bays of my self.

What do you see? How does boating affect your point of view? Let me know in the comments below.