At the Helm

Who's Watching Your Dock?

Published online: Jan 09, 2014 Feature Brady L. Kay
Viewed 831 time(s)
Web Exclusive

"Can I help you?"

These were the words that seemed to have come out of nowhere and it was a deep raspy voice that could have just as easily come from the comedian Ron White. I slowly turned around and what I got was a good look at the stare this houseboater was giving me. He was obviously concerned that I had ignored in his eyes all the warning signs posted at the dock forbidding any non-slip renters to be walking his dock.

But I had talked with the marina manager and got permission so I had nothing to worry about, yet I was still getting that look that a father gives a boy when he comes around asking for his 16-year-old daughter. 

Like a Harley roadie who's only job is to protect the bikes, this man posed as Captain Morgan with one leg up as he looked down at me from the bow of his houseboat. I was trying to be quick on my feet because he was obviously demanding a response. So I attempted to buy some time by simply replying, "Huh?"

This wasn't my proudest moment, but at six-foot five I'm not used to looking up to a lot of people. It didn't help that he actually did look like Ron White, but this was no time to be amused by the situation. This guy was ready to beat me if he didn't get some answers and fast.

But once I introduced myself and explained I was just out walking the docks to talk with houseboaters, he quickly dropped the annoyed father routine and we ended up talking for at least 30 minutes.

Like a good liveaboard who spends many weeks alone on his dock, he was just doing his job by watching out for the interest of his fellow dock neighbors. It actually made me kind of proud to be apart of such a fraternity where you always watch out for each other.

The next day at the same marina as I had just come off the water after a very windy afternoon and was a few docks over I heard a loud bang. It was that kind of thud that makes a boater owner cringe and with the wind it wasn't hard to figure out what had caused it. A new houseboat owner that had less than three weeks experience under his captain's belt was attempting to back his houseboat into his slip under very tough conditions. But before I could get there to try and help, several houseboaters were already lining his slip, ready to lend a hand. And guess who one of those guys were? Yep, it was my buddy from the day before, Mr. Ron White look-a-like himself.

The newbie gave up trying to back it in and just pulled forward. With the help of six guys, the boat was safely guided in. I was helping too, but I was wishing I had grabbed my camera to capture this true houseboating spirit of unity. The reason I was walking the docks the day before was in search of something like this. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn't that uncommon. Houseboaters are some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet, at least in my case it's true once they get to know you. They're willing to help in anyway they can and I was thankful for this reminder. 



Get first access to this article and more! Sign up for our newsletter today! Click here!

You May Also Be Interested In...

March 23, 2015

Attempting The Great Loop

Have you ever toyed with the possibility of houseboating along the Great Loop?
March 20, 2015

12 Things To Do Differently

Even the most experienced houseboaters can sometimes find themselves in a sticky situation. Here are the top 12 most common mistakes new and experienced boaters should be aware of.
March 13, 2015

How To Pick The Right Houseboat Rental For You

Picking the right houseboat rental can be like selecting the perfect breakfast cereal…
February 27, 2015

Chasing the Dream

Once you’ve decided to become a houseboat owner and done all your research on the overall costs, it’s time to start looking at your financing options.
February 20, 2015

Ten Water Games To Play In Spring

One of the greatest classics of all water games is Marco Polo. When we’re playing in the water and can’t think of a game, it’s pretty much the go-to. But...
February 13, 2015

Houseboating Abroad

Taking a houseboat adventure abroad is one way to indulge in the richness of other cultures.
Follow us on Facebook!   Follow us on Instagram!   Follow us on Pinterest!   Follow us on YouTube!