Teaching Your Wife/Husband to Sail and Other Secrets of a Long Marriage
Choosing Fun

Living Aboard a Sailboat and Winter Dock Walking

Here is the dock as it looked the second time I ventured out this morning.

We are slowly getting ready for yet another winter aboard in Maine.

Summer clothes off the boat and winter clothes on board -- Check

Ordered the shrink wrap -- Check (It's here and in our shower.)

Boots and cleats on board -- Not yet

Turn boat around -- Not yet

Bring de-humidifier aboard -- Not yet

Ah well-- we are working on it. This was yet another frosty morning -- and frosty mornings mean slippery docks. I describe our walk to the car as similar to walking a city block, except my "sidewalk" moves and is surrounded by water.

This morning, my neighbor (a senior person with a bad back) thought twice about going down the steep slippery ramp and opted to enter the dock from the boat launching area. I joined him, as much to be there if he needed help as to provide myself with a safer route. There was still a slope but more areas were  frost free and we successfully made it back to our respective boats.

On the way, we cheerfully shared tips for winter dock walking:

  1. Walk gingerly. Small steps.
  2. If you fall, fall straight down.
  3. D'uh, wear cleats. Both of us had cleats -- in storage lockers ashore.
  4. Never let land lubbers or folks who don't live aboard leave your boat at night without an escort.
  5. Use zippered bags, totes and pockets and keep vaulables zipped up. If you fall or drop the bag keys, cell phones, and wallets won't skitter into the drink. I like shoulder bags or bags long enough to cross over my chest.
  6. Remember to stop and look around. It is beautiful here. New boats are coming and going as folks head south or queue up to haul out and as winter neighbors arrive. Don't forget to enjoy the beauty and the camaraderie of this unique lifestyle.

When I left for a meeting this morning, I put on my hiking shoes and those treads allowed me to safely traverse the floating sidewalk. Getting to the storage locker for the cleats is a high priority this week. The de-humidifier and turning our bow to the north winds will occur after our last sail of the season.

We are getting ready for another winter in Maine. I wonder what it will bring.

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