* Note I'll be taking several example pictures this year.  If you have any good example pictures send them along!


Mariner’s Wave.

 It’s so nice to break away from all the technical writing I’ve been doing as of late and start to talk about some of the different things we get to do and experience when we are out and about on the water. Now as you may already know one of my favorite things to do on the water is “people watch,” or  “boat watch.” Whichever presents itself for best viewing at the time.  I’m finding out that the best times for such activities are done on the biggest summer time holidays, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Now for years and years I’ve done what was taught to me by my parents. They said “Stay home and play it safe on those high traffic weekends.” “Accidents, crime, death and mayhem run rampant and your best odds for security and survival are to stay at home.” Well yes, true enough I guess. They are only looking out for my best interest and safety. But you know what? I’ve got to tell you right now that I have missed a lot of sun and fun playing it safe all these years! So now that I’m a big grown up man, while still being very safety conscious mind you, we tread carefully and go out early on those hazardous weekends. We find a good spot and park it. We’ll just watch everybody else go by. You might call it a “see and be seen” thing or “people watching” or call it what you will. I call it fun. I love seeing the wide variety of watercraft and the people therein.

 I like to pick a good spot where we can see all the traffic on the deep water channel where the biggest of boats will pass by, but not so close that we get waked hard by the heavy traffic. Even ships 700 feet and longer can be seen passing this stretch of water! This is truly something to witness.  We see yachts, large and small, speeders of every age, make and style. My kids like the big long, thundering offshore racers. Those guys spend more money in fuel in 5 minutes then I do all day long… They are way cool though and fund to watch.

But no matter what kind of boat you’re riding in, weather it’s “big bucks” or just a “big bucket” when you pass each other within easy seeing distance you give each other the respectful “mariner’s wave.”  It’s a must! A tradition. If you don’t acknowledge and properly respond to well delivered mariner’s wave then you must have some serious issues that need to be addressed.  Now there are some excuses to negating the wave and that is if you are doing something like “close quarters maneuvering” or doing some obviously more important task like beverage in one hand and a plate of food in the other. But still, if you look up and make eye contact with the skipper of another boat, it would then be apropos for the “mariner’s nod.” Extra points would be given for the “cheers motion and small circle dance. (My personal favorite.)  This act can sometimes attract a similar response which I might add is what it’s all about. Stay with me now because this goes deep. Now we get into the “mariner’s multi wave.” This involves every able body on both vessels. Most everybody I know loves to send and receive a good hearty wave. It’s a message of “peace” and  “I wish you well.”  The “multi wave” starts with the first eye contact. But the person you intended the wave for missed your wave, however the passenger next to them caught it and waves back. This catches the attention of the first and third persons and then they now wave. At this point you wave a second or third time and your counter part dose the same. Now the boats pass and the folks in the aft seats have a shot at it… Depending on the number of souls on board both vessels, this could take a while. By this time my circle dance is losing its’ luster and am forced to stop and put my plate of food down. But boy did I rack up some points!


By the end of a long holiday weekend I’m sure I’ll have waved a thousand or more times. But I’m quite sure I’ve received twice that many in return. That many people showing me respect and wishing me well can’t be a bad thing. So in the future if you happen to see my old River Queen out in the river delta, be sure to instruct everybody on board to deliver a hearty wave and I’ll guarantee you’ll receive the same in return. Remember… Extra points for a cheerful circle dance…


Mike Wolfe.

“The River Queen Refit”

 September 2002