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The joy of owning a boat
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    "Whoever said that a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work never had their boat sink."
    — Unknown

I got up one fine Saturday morning and my first waking thought was to go to one of the local fishing holes.  This is a fairly common occurrence for me but school had just let out for the summer and I was particularly keen on the idea as a way to celebrate the end of my twenty fourth year in education.
    I have a small fishing boat with a fifty horsepower motor on it and made the decision to go to Lake Oconee where the hybrid bass fishing had been hot for the last month.  The problem was that the boat had not been cranked (I had been bumming a ride with Coach Cisson on earlier trips) since last spring so I knew there would be a few things to do before I could get to the lake.
    With high spirits I got dressed and went out to do a quick inspection to see what needed to be taken care of in order to get away as soon as possible.  To my chagrin the first thing I noticed was a flat tire.  The boat was parked in such a fashion that I had to hook it up and get it to flat ground to change the tire.  Once that was accomplished I proceeded to get the spare tire in order to proceed.  I don’t know who put those lugs on because on the first tug it did not budge.  I went in search of some trusty WD 40 to help loosen them.  This strategy worked and the lugs came off with a little effort.  For some reason one of the lugs was a different size so I had to hunt down a wrench that would fit it.  Finally all the lugs were off and the boat was jacked up with the spare tire bolted on.  When I lowered the jack I noticed with some irritation that the spare was nearly flat.
    I jumped in the truck and towed the boat up town to get some air in the tire.  The folks at the station commented that my tires looked as if dry rot had set in so I decided to go ahead and get two new ones.  After locating two tires the owner told me that they did not have anyone to put them on so I went up town and found a nice fellow who agreed to put them on for me.
    In the process of putting my new tires on I found out that one of my rims was rusted out.  Not good.  I ran back to the house to get the original flat tire and brought it back so we could use that rim.  Both tires were now securely in place and the only problem now was that I had no spare.  I was willing to overlook that minor problem because after all I had two brand new tires.
    With renewed spirits I got the boat home and proceeded to clean it out.  It had a lot of leaves in it and as I inspected it more closely I decided to use gloves to get them out because it looked as if there could be small animals or stinging insects hiding under there waiting to pounce if disturbed.  Got the leaves out without incident and forged ahead to the next task.
    Both batteries (trolling and cranking) were as dead as Julius Ceasar.  I hooked one up and while it was charging I continued with other agenda items.  I hoisted up the twin six gallon gas tanks to see how much fuel they contained.  To my astonishment they were both full.  Things seemed to be coming together.  I peered down in them however and to my horror could tell that water had gotten into the tanks.  I forlornly emptied both tanks.  Oh well, I could get some gas on the way to the lake.
    I now decided to test the trolling motor and when I yanked on the rope to pull it up the rope broke.  This was the last straw.  It was now the middle of the afternoon and thunder clouds (of two different kinds) were gathering and one of the batteries wasn’t even charged yet.  Looks like fishing is out of the question for today.
    Next morning however I’m ready to roll early.  I go out to hook up and the new tire is flat.  I think I’ll take my little vessel to the shop instead.  It’s really a load of fun having your own boat.

    Alvin Richardson is a contributing writer, retired educator, and public speaker. Contact him at