Always Be Prepared

Published in the November 2011 Issue March 2019 Feature Jan Clark

How many of you have seen National Lampoon’s family vacation movies with Chevy Chase? They’re classics to us since our family reunions and/or vacations are very similar to their escapades and mishaps. A Christmas never passes without our family digging out Christmas Vacation.

Many unexpected things can happen that you never planned to ever happen to you. Have you ever forgotten to disconnect the cable cord that’s attached to your satellite dish?  Try to explain that one to your satellite carrier. “Uhhhh yeah, it’s at the bottom of the lake.”

Have you ever had a water park splashing for an hour in front of your boat because you accidentally rammed the water faucet located in the front corner of your slip and broke it? And of course it’s 36 degrees outside and no one knows where the water turn off is located. Plus it is very obvious YOU messed up because it’s in front of your boat!

Have you ever said an undesirable word or sentence not realizing it was being blasted through your haler?  Those outdoor speakers sure can echo through the marina.

Have you taken your boat to a wonderful location with some friends or family whom you’re really trying to impress? You have the steaks, potatoes, salad, dessert, and plenty of ice and your favorite cold beverages. Everything is checked off the “to do” list—well, almost everything. You’re stuck with an empty propane canister! Oh well, no big deal. So what if it takes an hour to get back to the marina. Yep, you made quite an impression alright. McDonald’s anyone?

Have you taken guests out for a day on the water and none of you are aware that they get sea sick? Yum yum, chum chum. Again, be prepared. Might want to keep some Dramamine onboard.

Have you schooled your houseboat guests to NOT flush the toilet paper down the toilet over and over? That is always a fun repair when you would rather enjoy a day up to your neck in the lake water rather than up to your neck in the poop water!

Have you ever gone under a bridge and forgotten to put your canvas bimini cover down? Let me know. I have an excellent man who can repair your rails and canvas because he knows us well.  He makes dock calls and he’s on the speed dial for everyone on our dock.

One tip that I’d like to offer is to always have a checklist of things that need to be done before you back out and another one with a list of things to do before you leave hour houseboat.

As a host you are probably accustomed to the harsh sun rays and we forget that not everyone loves the sun and can tolerate it as well as someone who can bask in the sunshine all day long.  Make sure you have a variety of sun block, lotions, various hats and an array of cold drinks. And be certain you have plenty of bottles of water. No one needs to get dehydrated or resemble a lobster when stepping off your boat. YOU are the experienced HBO (houseboat owner) and precautions should be taken so all will have a good memorable day in a positive way rather than a negative one.

Many folks entering your boat could be first-timers. They bring nothing but their favorite drinks iced down in their coolers. Make sure you have plenty of towels, life jackets for everyone, food and snacks. Also make sure there is ample seating and shade for those non-sun worshippers.

You have to realize when we even mention a family get together we call it the Griswold family reunion because we all have the same luck: bad.  Last January I was walking down the dock (with my hands in my pockets) listening to the birds, enjoying the brisk cook air and anticipating a peaceful, quiet, relaxing day when I stumbled and fell. Not only were my plans shattered, so were both my shoulders and my nose. My orthopedic surgeon said, “WOW, this only happens to one out of every 200,000 patients we see.” Aren’t I lucky?  Do I win a prize, get my picture taken and put in a Medical Miracle Journal?  No, just a lot of paperwork explaining why I have two slings and am wrapped up like Harry Houdini. And of course a nice-sized bill on my way out the door.

When someone says, “Have a nice trip” don’t take it so literally. Take care and be prepared!

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