I’ve never been a boat owner but I’ve seen that life up close. You can categorize me as “owner adjacent” which is a modern way to say that my family owned a boat when I was young.
I was the first mate. This role involved a lot of unpaid labor without the benefit of a uniform or even a second mate to boss around.
The job of scrubbing down the hull when the boat was on land fell to me because my stature was a perfect fit. Along the way, I learned more than a few practical skills and even got an Illinois certification to operate a boat more than a year before getting a license to drive a car.
While the captain was known for being an old salt about a lot of things, he was also generous with the key for my numerous solo sojourns.
Just imagine letting a 15-year-old boy loose with a 140 horsepower inboard/outboard Mercruiser astern in an 18′ Glastron. If you know what these specs mean, you’ll also know that’s a big leap of faith to take on a first mate.
Those days that I was out by myself in the boat were joyous beyond belief.
There’s a cynical saying that the second happiest day of a boat owner’s life is the day he buys the boat. Which makes the happiest day of his life the day he sells it.
The San Diego boat owner in the portrait doesn’t believe that for a minute. Neither do I.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.