In this post, we asked you whether you thought Senator Marco Rubio’s ( R-Fl) purchase of an Edgewater 245 CC constituted an extravagance and whether it was a, “luxury speedboat,” as reported by the New York Times. The consensus of those who shared was that it was not.
Now that some time has passed, I’ll share my opinion. The Times was right; at least partially: It is a luxury boat.
The facts are, that unless you are a crabber working the Bering Sea, a clam digger working Great South Bay or a Water Taxi Operator working Biscayne Bay; in short, unless you bought your boat for use in a commercial enterprise, it is, de facto, a “luxury boat.”
A rotomolded canoe from a a big box store is a luxury, too. Like the center console, it serves to fill the leisure time of its owner. Both result from the expenditure of discretionary dollars. To the argument that the greater cost of the center console makes it more luxurious, I say that luxury, like honesty, is not a matter of degree. Owning a boat for recreation is a luxury. Period.
For the record, there are 11.99 million owners of registered boats in the US according to the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA). This figure does not include most canoes.
Furthermore, while a boat like the Edgewater, operated safely, can take one out over the horizon for the day, it cannot do what a canoe can do. I defy anyone to deem such a boat luxurious were it to be planted in some mountain stream. There, those with a canoe travel with speed, style and maneuverability.
So we agree with The Times–recreational boats are luxuries– and thank them for stating the obvious. But speedboat? The Times needs to do better homework.
All boats have speed, whether fast or slow. Is a Corvette or a Ferrari a “speed car?” Just where does the term. “speedboat” come from? It sounds like something Captain Steubing might say to Julie aboard the Love Boat. But the bigger question — TV sitcoms notwithstanding–is why is The Times using it?
Furthermore, The Times did not bother to seek expert opinion. Had The Times bothered to ring-up the American Powerboat Association, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, The American Boat and Yacht Council, or NAMS, NASBLA, NMMA, SAMS, or …ahem…this publication, they could have saved face and published the correct name for the boat type. Heck, they could have even called Edgewater and asked the builder what kind of boat it is.
BOATING has no stake in Senator Rubio’ s campaign. My purpose in writing this opinion is to ensure that The Times piece does not result in society viewing boaters in the wrong light. After all, extravagant means profligate, unreasonable and wasteful.
If spending quality time with family and friends on the water, in the very womb of nature, while honing age-old skills and keeping alive traditions, is extravagant, then that is a luxury I stand proud to have achieved.
Takeaway: Anyone who terms a 24-foot open boat a “luxury speedboat” obviously never tried using a porta potty when it was blowing 20 knots.