From the Helm . . .
As this column is penned, catalogues of all descriptions are flooding mailboxes as the Holiday Season rapidly approaches. One of my favorites, ‘Overton Marine’, has me thinking it is time to move my 12-year-old marine radio down to the cabin and install a new Garmin VHF 100 at the helm that, among itís many functions, allows tracking of up to three other boats. The Bennett Auto Tab Control, which adjusts for steadily changing sea conditions, is under $400 and would definitely make rough-water cruising a whole lot easier. Fuel flow gauges are also being added to my wish list. My autopilot is well over 20 years old, and my list needs at least one ‘big ticket’ item.
The outdoor shows will be starting shortly after the first of the year, and there is no better way to get some good hands-on experience (not to mention some fabulous buys) with what is new in boats, motors, trailers, electronics, fishing tackle, the possibilities are endless. What a great time to replace/upgrade equipment! (Remember, I tell my skeptical wife, ‘all that new stuff is tax deductible. Great tax break, Hon! She doesn’t look at all convinced.)
Looking for a new boat? There is no better time than the off-season to initiate a search, but establish a plan first. What name brand are you looking for and how deep is your wallet? Then get checking newspaper ads, boating magazine ads, boat dealerships, and especially the Internet. One of the most enjoyable winters I ever spent was doing just that. And if the boat buying gets real serious, have ìpending a successful sea trial and surveyî written into the contract. A friend of mine skipped the survey, and it cost him several thousand dollars replacing a rotted out transom.
Equally if not more important, the ‘off-season’ is a time to put aside the concerns of falling lake levels, declining forage bases for predators, high gas prices and all the other stress that go with being in the charter business. There is little point in worrying about things we have no control over. Take the kids or grandchildren to Disney or just enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Take time to have fun, laugh a lot, and visit old friends. And don’t forget to remember our service men and women whose sacrifices make this all possible.
On behalf the officers and board of directors of MCBA, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season.
Captain Terry Walsh
President – MCBA