Boating is a pastime that requires water, but I don’t know too many sailors who like getting wet. Whether it is spray, rain, or green water over the bow, boaters seem to go to extremes to keep dry. We buy expensive foul weather gear, which in hot weather dictates that we get wet with sweat from the inside, and we also construct dodgers, coamings, biminis, and other defenses rather than subject ourselves to the elements. Since boating is predominantly a warm weather activity, why such an aversion to gleefully getting wet?
Recently the local junior sailing kids were diving off the floats and having water fights with bailers as a storm front was moving in with obvious darkening skies. At the same time, the radio began to crackle with requests from adults on moored boats (many sunning themselves in beachwear) for the launch to come get them before the rains came. Now I can appreciate not getting caught in a storm, but most of the adults merely retreated to the clubhouse to watch the downpour. When the showers passed they emerged again, like flowers unfolding to the sun.
I admit to carrying a full foul weather outfit, including waterproof dinghy boots in my kit, but I also carry a simple bathing suit for those times when fighting mother-nature is a no-win scenario. I wonder how we get back that kid-like quality of playing in the wet? After all, aren’t we using the boat to get closer to the water and all those wet activities we like so much, like swimming, surfing, diving, sailing and fishing? A little fresh-water washdown never hurt anyone.
My suggestion is: put on your bathing suit and go boating, act like a kid again, and when spray comes over the bow, embrace it!