A wise man (or woman) has friends who own boats. Why is that so? Because a boat is really a hole in the water, into which you pour your money. A boat is also a means to isolate yourself from other people or it can be a gathering place for your family and friends. That is why I say that you want to be one of those friends, and be a generous friend to the boat owner.

There are different kinds of privately owned boats: sailboats, motor boats, boats powered only by oars, boats propelled by long poles, pleasure boats, working boats, and they all have one thing in common: they suspend human and/or material cargo above a body of water. Depending on what your friend, the boat owner, does with his or her boat, adapt yourself to help the owner as well as to share their joy of being on the water.

By not owning a boat, you may not know that a boat that is purchased new can cost as much as a new car or even a new house. Plus, there are docking and storage costs, equipment maintenance, repair, and replacement costs, a cost for weather damage, fuel, membership dues, taxes, and if the owner generously invites you to sail, motor out, or simply to lounge upon the boat while it is tied up at the dock, the owner will likely provide food and drink, music, and the owner may have to purchase additional seat cushions. The list of expenses goes on-and-on.

Most people will accept the boat owner’s kind invitation, and bring nothing to give to the owner. That is why most people, other than the owner’s family and closest friends, rarely get invited to sail again. Bring something special, something good to eat that you have prepared in your kitchen, something that you know is tasty. Bring that good food in abundance.

Perhaps bring a couple of bottles of champagne with you too. Spend between $25 and $50 on such gifts, and the boat owner will think you are royalty. Smile and be gracious to all aboard. Everyone who sails with you will like you, and they will admire you as the generous person that you are. You can safely bet that the boat owner has invited other boat owners to sail too. Make friends with all of them, and you will sail again, wise man.