By Capt. Ralph Allen
Boats belong in the water. Boats bobbing at docks almost seem to be chafing at a imaginary bit, as if they’re anxious to be under way. When they’re finally released from their shoreside captivity and freed to cut an unfettered wake across open water, vessels are truly in their element. Conversely, when boats are removed from their nautical element — whether sitting on a trailer, perched on a lift, hanging from davits or resting on blocks in a boatyard — they never look truly natural. It’s as if they know that they are designed for grander things.
Boats do belong in the water, but few of them manage to spend their entire lives afloat. Some boats spend very little time in the water at all. Almost all boats, even the most massive seagoing commercial and military ships, are periodically removed from the water for maintenance. Most of the boats in Charlotte County are small enough that they can be placed on trailers, allowing the owners to store their vessels at home and to accomplish maintenance chores there. Sadly, most of these smaller craft spend almost all their days sitting on a trailer. Owners of waterfront homes often store their boats on lifts or davits behind the house, allowing quicker and easier access to the water than is enjoyed by the owners of trailer boats, and these boat owners can perform many maintenance tasks by working under or around the suspended hulls.
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