In a world full of crazy, often disrespectful, rage-filled type of people, it has always amazed me how friendly and laid back houseboaters are. I’d dare wager that it would be hard to find a better group of people on the planet. It’s true. Maybe some of these captains have a different side to them once they return to their day jobs, but once onboard these houseboaters often display kindness and unselfishness not normally found in our day-to-day lives.
I’ve always known this and have witnessed firsthand as dock neighbors have come from out of nowhere to help a boater in need. What’s mine is yours and it’s almost like going back in time when you walk the docks at some of the houseboat marinas across the country because everyone has a friendly smile for you.
But even with a firm knowledge and understanding of how inviting houseboaters can be, it’s always good to have a reminder every now and then.
This month’s cover feature is on the Keller family from Utah. I was given Scott Keller’s information from the manufacturer of Bravada Yachts as a possible lead when I went in search for a feature story on Lake Powell this summer. I emailed back and forth a few times and I knew Scott and his family would be a great story for us.
We set a date to meet up and Scott and his wife Karen along with their family took time out of their vacation to make sure I got what I needed for my article. This family didn’t know me before this day, but it didn’t take long for them to warm up to this stranger who was lugging all of his camera gear through their houseboat. I was invading their houseboat for the day, yet I was quickly invited and soon felt like one of the family.
When you spend enough time with people, they will hold back until they know me better and then start relaxing and playing those games that they do all the time. For example, have you ever heard of Sea Doo Frisbee? Okay, so I’m not sure on the official name of this game, but it started when Scott would throw a Frisbee off the top deck as far as he could out into the water while members of the family each took turns on a Sea Doo trying to get under it to catch it. They made those long catches look routine, but I could tell that coordination—as well as a lot of practice—was a major key to their success.
By the end of the day I had my photos and it was time for me to return to the dock. But there was no way this family was going to let me leave on an empty stomach. They had rolled out a full spread for lunch, but setting an extra plate for dinner seemed above and beyond what I was expecting. I had been smelling the slow-cooked ribs that had been in the smoker all afternoon, so even if it meant heading back in the dark on the family’s runabout while the houseboat stayed anchored on the beach, I was more than willing. Of course going back at dusk meant that Scott and his son-in-law Dane would have to return in the dark after dropping me off. Despite my pleas, they still insisted I stay for dinner and was really hoping I would just stay on the boat with them that night, but my schedule wouldn’t allow it.
I was included in the family’s prayer as they gave thanks for the meal and that made me feel more welcome than any plate of ribs ever could. On this day surrounded by the Keller family, I very well could have been the adopted brother or son to anyone observing from the outside. This is truly a great family and a perfect reflection of how houseboaters treat each other and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this industry than I was on that day. It’s great to know that families like the Kellers still exist today.