Whoa! That’s A Lot Of Candles

30 Years of Houseboat Magazine

November 2019 Feature By Brady L. Kay

For most of us, reaching the dreaded 30-year mark was probably not as big of a deal as we made it out to be, yet it sure felt like a birthday not worth celebrating. At that time in our young lives we weren’t quite ready to say bye-bye to our “roar’n 20s” just yet, and turning the big 3-0 made a lot of us feel old. At least that’s how I felt back when I reluctantly celebrated my 30th birthday. Of course today I’d happily go back to my 30s and I’m guessing I wouldn’t be alone in making that birthday wish.

However you choose to recall your own milestone celebration, there is a 30th birthday worth looking forward to and worthy of celebration and that’s Houseboat magazine’s anniversary.

It’s almost hard to believe that it’s really been that long, but since 1990 Houseboat has been educating buyers and showcasing the lifestyle only possible through houseboating in the pages of our magazine. During our own tenure we’ve seen a lot of changes in just how we distribute our information alone. Back then it was all about the pages of the magazine and that’s it. If we had something new or exciting that we were just dying to let houseboaters know about, we had to wait for that news to come out in print. No website in 1990, no Facebook or any other social media tools were even invented or thought of back then and I think that’s what made getting our magazine back from the printer so exciting.

The founder of Harris Publishing, Darryl Harris, used to pick up a fresh copy and inhale the smell of the ink off the pages with a big ol’ smile on his face. Man I miss those days but I’d like to think that in his retirement he still does the same thing when a copy of Houseboat arrives in the mail.

Of course today we’re so much more than just what is printed on the pages in our publication, as the digital era has changed how we’re able to share information. Yet call me old-fashioned, but I still like holding the magazine in my hands as I flip through the pages and what I’ve found is that a lot of other people do too. Our phones and tablets are good for a lot of things, but you can’t beat the houseboat-specific features found in our magazine each time. 

Now our 30th anniversary may not be “golden,” but it is pearly. Yes, as you may have guessed, pearls are the official traditional gift of this anniversary but I won’t be holding my breath on receiving any gifts myself.

When we celebrate the New Year in January we should all have an optometrist’s perspective and be seeing 20/20, right? Shouldn’t we all have a clear vision of what 2020 and beyond is going to look like for our unique niche in the boating industry? If only it was that easy.  

Like many houseboat manufacturers, brokers, marinas and everyone else in this crazy roller coaster up and down industry, we feel the only thing that has been constant over the past 30 years is change. In another 30 years will we be looking back on 2020 and wondering how we ever lived without some unique technology that has yet to be invented? As we admire the advancements of what a houseboat looked like in 1990 compared to today will we be thinking the same thing years from now? It’s actually kind of fun to speculate sometimes what might be on the horizon in the upcoming years. Whatever technology or houseboat style is coming, you can count on Houseboat to be the one source to provide you with those updates. Here’s to you Houseboat magazine: happy birthday!

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