Fishing & Boating News

Refuse to be "Sivilized"

View from the Marina

by: Barb Hansen,

(Sep. 07, 2011 - Fort Myers, FL) Are we more free on the water than on land? I say, yes. But I would also have to say that it's probably more of a feeling than a human right. Still, it's a great feeling.

Being on the water has always felt good to me, even as a child, and it feels ever better since September 11, 2001. The destruction of the World Trade Center's twin towers and the murder of more than 3,000 innocents reminded us that we need the government to provide for our national defense - that's in the constitution - but if you sometimes feel like life is just one big TSA pat-down, then I recommend boating.

And, in addition to airport and other government hassles, we have what is called the "nanny state." I just read where New York's health department wanted to outlaw day camp games like wiffle ball, kick ball and Red Rover? Too risky, you see. Fortunately, wiser heads prevailed.

The government-knows-best people are always looking for ways to curtail personal freedoms. Food police want to outlaw Happy Meals and require calorie counts. At one Chicago school the students can no longer pack a lunch and bring it to school

If that is the way civilization is going, heaven help us. It's time to escape to the water just like Huckleberry Finn and Jim. They escaped on a Mississippi River raft, Jim from slavery and Huck from society's attempts to "sivilize" him.

I call water "the wild blue wonder" and for me it is the very symbol of freedom. Looking at an expanse of water is nice but, let's be honest, you're not going to get that special feeling just by looking at it. You need to be on the water.

People list lots of reasons why they like to go boating. They like to fish, or paddle, or go fast, or go slow. They like being close to nature. They like fresh air and sunshine. They like the sound of the paddle, the sound of the sails, the sound of the motor. They like being with friends and family away from the reminders of life's ever-present chores. Memories are made of this.

Today, a lot of busy people are deciding chartering a yacht is the way to go. Then you and your family and friends can really get away from it all because your boat has, hubba, hubba, beds and a kitchen.

Some people even opt to see the USA in a boat. For example, you actually can cruise protected water - barrier island channels, canals, bays, and rivers -- from Fort Myers Florida to New York City, Montreal, Chicago, New Orleans and back again to Fort Myers. That's called the Great Loop Cruise. It's a long way and it takes a long time but you know what? A TSA agent will never pat you down or ask you to pose for a camera that removes your clothes.

I think boating is in our DNA. It's why when we were toddlers we floated a toy boat in the tub. It's why boy scouts graduate to sea scouts. It's why my husband-to-be Vic built a teenager's sailboat and made sails from old bed sheets. Today, it's why we operate a charter boat company in paradise.

Be a good citizen, but don't let them "sivilize" you. It's a great feeling.

Barb Hansen manages Southwest Florida Yachts, yacht charters, and Florida Sailing & Cruising School, a liveaboard yacht school.