Winter warriors

All wrapped up and ready for snow. Photo byAli Wisch

December 2021

By Ali Wisch
For Points East

“Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.” – Kin Hubbard

In the northeast, we are no strangers to the weather changing, nor are we shy when it comes to talking about it. When I’m on land, I’m as guilty as the next person using it to fill an awkward pause in conversation or exchange a quick pleasantry. When I’m on my boat, however, chatting about the weather moves up to the next level – which makes sense considering how important it is for boaters’ safety. It’s no longer small talk when discussing matters of life and death or what you need to do to prevent your vessel from sinking.

Not only does discussing the weather become less of a frivolity, but it also becomes more straightforward. Because while on land, most of us have four seasons, on the water, we have two. Some refer to them as summer and winter; others refer to them as when you can use your boat and when you can’t.

I’ve never been a big fan of the “can’t use my boat” season. Aside from an extreme dislike of being cold, fear of slipping on ice and a lack of ability when it comes to pretty much every winter sport: ice-skating – nope, skiing – nope. To be honest, I don’t even enjoy sledding. Come to think of it, I’m starting to realize that I’m not good when it comes to balancing. This is ironic, considering that my home is pretty much always in motion as a liveaboard, even if it’s just rocking from side to side, so I’m basically balancing ninety-nine percent of the time.

In the winter in Boston, living aboard probably hasn’t helped me develop a great joy of the colder months either. I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I dream about being able to take a hot shower without worrying about tripping a breaker, how much water is in my tanks, and how I’m going to have to put on eighteen layers and hold a hose in my deck fill once I’m done in freezing cold weather.

That being said – it’s not all bad. The year-round liveaboards at my marina are a tight-knit community of winter warriors. Everyone keeps an eye out on everyone else’s boats, and if something does go wrong, not one person will hesitate to throw on their puffy coat and run outside to help. People decorate their boats with twinkly lights and put wreaths on their shrinkwrapped doors, always bringing a smile to my face.

Whether you’re on your boat this winter or not, it’s important to remember that you aren’t facing the winter blues alone. So, while we’re all curled up by the fireplace or under a heated blanket, let’s try not to forget that boating season is always just around the corner and plan to make next year a great one.