Laundry in the rigging

Cruising these days involves an uphill battle with land owners in many locales. Throughout Florida anchoring rights are being severely limited, and marina dockage is becoming sparse. The driving forces behind many of these restrictions are developers and home owners who don’t want their waterfront views marred by a host of offensive cruising boats. Part of the problem lies in the definition of “offensive”. To be sure, derelict boats which barely float, never leave their moorings, and are in serious need of restoration are an eyesore to everyone, including those of us who live on the water with them. Waterfront home owners could never be blamed for excluding such detritus from their backyards. Most cruising boats, however, are functional homes which must by necessity be in good working order, and most cruisers take pride in the appearance and condition of their vessels. We don’t consider our cruising homes to be an offensive sight to land owners by any standard. Our boats are our homes, our workplaces, our transportation, our get-aways, and the water around us is our backyard. We share the waterfront view with the land owners, and we also want to keep it pristine.

So why do some cruisers—not many, but a few—find it necessary to hang laundry in their rigging, giving us all an unsightly display of their personal lives? Most marinas have a rule against hanging laundry, and the plethora of available laundry facilities makes the practice unnecessary. It behooves us all to do everything we can to be good neighbors to the land dwellers with whom we are in close proximity, and hanging out our private attire for all to see doesn’t qualify. Towels on the lifelines for short periods of airing are one thing, but sheets, t-shirts, and underwear flying for hours from the rigging are a sight none us needs. Let’s help each other out be keeping our personals under wraps, rather than giving land owners one more bullet to shoot down our lifestyle.

Posted Monday February 13, 2006

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