The folly of boat ownership is lost on us, but tax cuts aren’t |

The folly of boat ownership is lost on us, but tax cuts aren’t

I sure hope President Bush plans to keep some of those fat-cat tax rebates in place, because even though I’m not among the rich, I am now .333333 owner of a beautiful, classic yacht. And we all know if you buy a yacht or a planet, Uncle Sam will give you a $4.6 trillion tax rebate.Myself and my two co-boat-owners – I’ll call them … “Seaman Jim” and “Seaman Stephen” – saw the yacht sitting in the parking lot north of Farmer’s Korner and knew we had to have it. Well, Seaman Jim and I did. We had to persuade Seaman Stephen with the wisdom of our ways and what a great investment we were making on his behalf.Our other friends weren’t so sure. Their jaws flew open when they found out we were co-captains, co-first mates and co-idiots. They laughed. They asked us how much we “were taken for.”Ha! We know better. Our friends have yacht envy.Seamen Stephen and Jim also had to get this past their spousal units. Seaman Stephen’s wife said, “If he gets a new boat, I get a new horse.” Seaman Jim and I immediately outvoted him on this easy question – our first vote of boat ownership! We were so proud! We’re naming the new horse ShutUpSteve.Seaman Jim’s wife merely groaned and shook her head. My daughter rolled her eyes (but she’s first on the list of passengers, we noticed).

I must admit, we had second thoughts about this purchase, starting when the former owner started the motor and it spewed out enough smoke to qualify for EPA Superfund money.The third thoughts came when the engine kept stalling, and our fourth on the drive to the bank when Seaman Stephen said, “We’re not really buying a boat, are we?””A yacht,” Seaman Jim said. “We’re buying a yacht. And it’s too late to back out, Seaman Stephen.”Our minds were made up.Our fifth thoughts came as we sat in the yacht and soaked up the beautiful fall sun as the former owner waited for us to hand over cash. What a glorious day to buy a yacht, we all said, posing for photos. But with each $100 bill we handed the former owner, the clouds gathered. The former owner screeched away in his truck, leaving skid marks across my lawn.”Is this an omen?” Seaman Stephen asked. “This is an omen.” Rain began to fall.

“Now what?!” cried Seaman Jim. “The boat’s going to get wet! Grab a tarp!”Now, I’m sure there are lots of other former boat owners out there – notably in North Dakota, where Boat Owners Anonymous sends its members in recovery – who are slapping their foreheads as they read this and think we are mighty fools.After all, owning a boat is only slightly more expensive than maintaining the Hubble space telescope. We figure, if the government can do that, then by Jove, we might be able to get taxpayers to help us with this, too.We think we can be successful boat owners because all three of us are experienced. Our proof is in the fact that all of us grew up in the coastal regions of the United States – Seamen Jim and Stephen in what used to be the state of Florida, and myself on the Left Coast.And I own three other boats: a wooden scull that costs a mere $1.2 million in tung oil each year, a canvas stripper canoe that I bought on a whim and don’t know what to do with, and an aluminum canoe that requires no maintenance because we can’t lift it off the ground as it weighs more than a Princess cruise ship.But this boat. Ohhh, what a beauty.Sure, she needs a name – although we’re keeping the former owner’s name for the cabin. (Don’t ask; we won’t lie.)

And she needs a new layer of fiberglass, a job we’ve designated to Seaman Stephen because he deals with toxic chemicals on a daily basis.And her three – count them! – three carburetors need a tune-up, the gas tank needs to be replaced, and we need to put lights in the cabin. Those are Seaman Jim’s jobs because he thinks he has mechanical aptitude. And we want to believe him!I’m taking care of the paperwork, painting, lawyers and beer distribution.This is going to be just like being a homeowner – we just pour money in the hole in the hull instead of into the roof, right?And next year, we’ll collect that big tax rebate from good ol’ Uncle Sam.Jane Stebbins writes a Wednesday column. She can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at

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