Big boat, bigger headache

Published 12:25 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It was late at night, and I recognized the voice right away, one of a not so old pal way back from Alabaster.

“I’m in trouble. I came to Atlanta, got drunk and bought a boat.” Well, you will get over both of them, but I wondered, why would a fellow go to a place like Atlanta to get drunk? “Hey, it’s a big boat! I mean a big boat! It’s 50 feet long!”

Now, I remembered the last prank he played on me. He, our friend Josh, and some of his Cajun friends serenaded my new bride and me—all night long! (Maybe there is a downside to a long honeymoon.)

Back to the boat. He was serious, “Where can I launch it?” “I don’t have any idea!” was my short-list of answers, and after about an hour, it was still my only answer. After several suggestions, I did remind him that a boat that big would probably crush the launch at Higgins Ferry—it was old, broken and tired. He would have to get a permit from the state.

He left me with, “Oh, we’ll have to get it in the lake—I’ve already bought it.” Maybe a good night’s sleep. “We’ll get it in the lake if I have to rent some cranes to lift it in.” Now, I’m beginning to think, “good luck.”

A couple of weeks later, I got the nerve to call him about his boat. You would never believe the trouble he went through to put that thing in the water. He did contact the Conservation Department. After checking their records, they confirmed Higgins Ferry had been doubled in size, broken, caved in, etc. The county had either done the work or contracted it. It had also been extended into the water but broken off; boulders filled in and produced a large hole that could swallow a trailer wheel!

Buddy got a diver to go down and chart the part that was in the water and submitted it to the Montgomery office along with the credentials of the boat hauler from Lake Lanier. They approved his request. He said they brought it in at such an angle not to drag and get hung up.

I went down to see the queen of Lake Mitchell, and what a boat it was: twin engine, in-board/out-board. “DOG HOUSE” was her name. I did recommend that he not change the name of the boat until he was sure his lovely wife Karen was OK with it!

Buddy was offering excursions and was quite proficient in handling his craft, taking trips of up to 10 people. He advertised and was doing quite well. He told me about this fellow who wanted to go for a boat ride. “How much for one of them rides?” He told him that it would be $50 dollars an hour. The man interrupted with, “50 doll-ahs?” Buddy tried to explain that was for parties up to 10. “50 doll—ahs?” The poor fellow kept repeating himself over and over before hanging up.

I can see this poor soul, just wanting a ride for himself. “50 doll-ahs?”

Hey, Buddy, there are two times a boat owner is happy with his boat: the day he buys it and the day he sells it!