OK, so you just spent a day fishing with your buddy in his nice bass boat and you made sure he knew that you sincerely appreciated using his rig every time you fish. Trying to be considerate, you paid your share of gas and food. Many times this is all that’s needed, but I wanted to share some thoughts about boating ownership costs most nonboaters might take for granted.
I believe many anglers who partner up with a willing boater may be unconsciously overlooking the time, work and money it’s costing their friend to keep that pretty rig running. Especially if they’re using his boat all the time. It’s far more than gas. Here are some of the less apparent expenses.
One thing that has struck me lately has been how much work it takes to keep a boat clean. A day of fishing can leave anything from a real bad scummy film to dirty water lines on the hull. It can take a half hour trying to get those stains off; even then it is impossible to get ’em all.
In addition, there is the problem of removing water spots, fish guts, scent oils and food and dirt from the interior and exterior, just to get it back to ground zero! I have anglers tell me they usually spend a good half hour cleaning the floor and upholstery, too. So after an 8- to 10-hour trip in wind and waves, cleaning can take two-plus hours when doing it all by yourself.
Gas is costly, but there are other things such as outboard oil, insurance, tags, storage, repairs, maintenance, boat cleaning products, tires, batteries and annual or day passes that can add up fast. These items are at least in the hundreds of dollars and up – on the very low end for a nice boat. What about a simple engine tuneup? Sorry, ain’t no cheap marine tuneups!
Among other overlooked costs is having safety items such as an onboard medical kit as well as a good jack, spare tire and lug wrench. Many carry air pumps, flashlights, tow ropes, tool kits, rain suits, dry clothes, sunscreen and of course TP! The non-boat-owning angler may not know about these costs but I bet their boat-owning buddy does!
By the way, are the batteries charged and do you have a good GPS Depthfinder for us to find our way back in the dark? The success and safety of any trip could revolve around having these things onboard. It’s another set of expensive items that don’t jump out at you, but ones you have to have on your boat. All the nonboater has to do is show up and get in.
My point is that it’s easy to get into a rut where guys can take consistent hospitality for granted, even while honestly thinking that they are doing their noble and fair part by paying for the gas! I’m not talking about occasionally invited anglers or guests; that’s something entirely different. But if you’re using a buddy’s boat about 50% of the time it’s on the water, but only paying 5% of the costs, you might want to consider helping out more. Of course, some folks offset the costs by providing other benefits. What I’m suggesting is that being a good fishing buddy requires being aware of the true costs your boater buddy is paying.
Also, if you use a friend’s boat all the time: 1, Don’t rush off after you unload. Help clean inside and out before you leave; it really helps. 2, Casually offer to pay something extra to cover “other costs,” if it’s appropriate in your case. Warning, the shock may give him a heart attack!
Last thought: If you’ve got a skinflint, nonboater buddy who uses your rig all the time, you could anonymously send him this column – underlined and highlighted! And also if you fish with me, don’t be paranoid, I’m not talking about you! Hmm …? Ha! Never give up!