There comes a time in every large boat’s life when it must be hauled out of the water for services.
They say you should do it once a year, at a minimum. With our one year anniversary of owning the boat right around the corner, and our records showing the boat had not been hauled out since 2012, we were slightly overdue to say the least.
Making A List, Checking It Twice
Our haulout list had quite a few items to start, which quickly dwindled down to the necessities we could afford, i.e. window leaks and bottom paint.
For those who don’t know, bottom paint is a layer of antifouling that slows down the growth of marine organisms on the bottom of your boat, such as barnacles. The growth is so heavy in our location, that most boats have a diver clean the bottom of the boat monthly.
As far as I’m concerned, the new bottom paint really just benefits the diver. But, we knew it eventually needed to be done, so we decided to tackle it this go-around.
Planning The Trip
The haulout required Wiffersnapper to be taken to a boat yard, which was 2.5 miles away. We decided that hiring a Captain for a 30-minute boat ride wasn’t an option. So you know what that meant… “Just the two of us, we can make it if we tryyyy.”
No big deal, except we’ve never ran the boat alone, and the boat has never ran without issues, so actually it was kind of a big deal.
To make matters worse, after scoping out the area we realized it was a really tight approach leading to a very narrow ramp where they haul the boat out of the water.
We were heading out of town for Tiff’s moms retirement celebration, so the timing worked out for us to move our belongings and the cats on land for a couple of days prior to the trip. This was no small feat mind you, with lots of packing and planning involved.
Ps. Thanks Bobby and Christina for hosting us and our fur-kids.
It’s Go Time
So the day came when it was time to move old Wiffersnapp. I had practiced it many times in my head, but had never actually done it by myself. Of course we had a nice audience, so I wore my hat and glasses to mask the sweat as I pulled off of the docks.
It was a smooth departure, and we made our way down the bay, enjoying our boat ride while waiting on edge for the engine alarm to sound. Fifteen minutes in and no alarm!
Hold that thought, suddenly we had another problem approaching… A PIRATE SHIP!
There we were, two big boats trying to navigate a small channel, and considering they were armed with cannons, we decided to give way to the pirates. Right after was the approach to the boat yard, and again came the sweat.
Pulling in, there was literally just a foot on each side of us, but we got her in and tied up with the help of some yard staff. It sounds uneventful, but this was no ordinary boat docking. This was our first trip alone, and our first trip with both engines running!
Marine Corps Perks
The next day, we met the owner of the boat yard to discuss services, and he noticed my dog-tag tattoo and asked if I served. “Marine Corps, eight years,” I replied as he gave me a firm hand shake, a loud Oorah, then asked me why the hell didn’t I mention that? (Is that a normal thing to randomly bring up to strangers? I think not.)
But in this case it sure helped, because he said I’m officially a part of the insiders club, and get a very special fellow Marine rate. He then called over one of his employees who was also a former-Marine, and I recognized his familiar face. Turns out, he was our neighbor while we were docked at Marinatown, so we caught up briefly.
The owner treated me like he had known me his entire life, and I knew we were in good hands. While Wiffersnapper was getting new paint, we were busy trying to be land-lubbers for the week….
We were awful at it. Tiff was caught saying “slip” instead of parking space, and I referred to the gas station as the “fuel dock”. Ha! We enjoyed our time in Maryland, celebrating her mom’s retirement from the Dept. of the Navy, and going out on her dad’s 353 FastTech Formula.
Moving Back Onboard
The haul-out went well, quicker than we thought they’d be given the size of the boat.
Bringing Wiffersnapper back to the marina was a little more challenging than our departure thanks to the wind. But with the help of our dock neighbors, we got her in there – with two working engines and no major issues. All-in-all a successful first haulout.