Sight­lines

Re­flec­tions on my time as a colum­nist for Power & Mo­to­ry­acht.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE -

In his last col­umn, Michael Peters looks back on six years of sto­ries, in­clud­ing the ones that got him into trou­ble.

Writ­ing this col­umn has been a very re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me. I had never had a col­umn be­fore, yet I was granted the free­dom to dis­cuss my per­sonal views and ex­pe­ri­ences from a life­time spent in­side the boat­ing in­dus­try. I’ve writ­ten 72 columns, and yet the mag­a­zine re­jected only two of my pieces. One of them was among my fa­vorites; ti­tled “Lost Di­a­monds,” the col­umn crit­i­cized the Ft. Laud­erdale Boat Show as an in­ept venue for the sale of boats, as they were all stacked up, side by side. That one sent shud­ders through the ed­i­tors who feared they would lose their jobs be­cause their com­pany owned the boat show at the time. I learned the lim­its of my au­ton­omy on that one.

The col­umn that gar­nered the most reader feed­back was “Locked and Loaded.” In it, I ques­tioned whether I should carry a gun aboard my new boat. The piece came out shortly af­ter one of our coun­try’s mass shoot­ings, and it was my way of en­ter­ing the gun de­bate.

One earnest reader gave me ad­vice on the small ar­se­nal I should carry, in­clud­ing the ex­act model gun I should have for ev­ery sit­u­a­tion I could en­counter. I still don’t own a gun and proudly sup­ported the young sur­vivors of the Park­land shoot­ing and their March For Our Lives.

The an­gri­est re­sponse from read­ers was gen­er­ated by “Key­board War­riors.” The col­umn was orig­i­nally ti­tled “Mean Girls,” and with it I meant to ex­pose the in­tol­er­ance some boaters have for other boat own­ers. I re­ceived a num­ber of nasty com­ments, in­clud­ing “Have you seen his wife naked?” Boy, were these guys easy to troll. They came out of the wood­work ex­pound­ing the very hos­til­ity I was com­ment­ing on.

In “Miss USA” I sug­gested the pos­si­bil­ity of a new pres­i­den­tial yacht if Don­ald Trump be­came com­man­der in chief. It al­most didn’t get pub­lished, be­cause the ed­i­tors were pretty sure The Don­ald would be old news by the time the ar­ti­cle was in print 45 days later. I still don’t like Trump, but I sure was right that he would still be around.

The one I had the most fun with was “Make Boat­ing Great Again,” my spoof on Trump’s cam­paign. Some thick­headed peo­ple clearly didn’t get it, think­ing I had made some re­ally great points on over­pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. Oth­ers thought it was the fun­ni­est thing they ever read and clearly got the satire. I was re­minded that most boaters are Repub­li­cans. Sad.

In “A Fish­ing Mas­sacre” I sug­gested read­ers get in the mood and lis­ten to a record­ing of “Alice’s Restau­rant” and per­haps smoke a lit­tle some­thing. Some peo­ple def­i­nitely didn’t take my ad­vice, be­cause I got a very se­ri­ous let­ter read­ing me chap­ter and verse of the Cal­i­for­nia MPA fish­ing laws. This guy slapped me with “ig­no­rance is no ex­cuse,” even though I was from out of state. To him, I re­it­er­ate: Go smoke a doo­bie.

I have al­ways thought know­ing when to quit was an art. I have run my course and the only things I have left to write about will get me killed, im­pris­oned or sued. I know I have pissed a few peo­ple off, adding po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary when I had the op­por­tu­nity.

I know I have made fun of a lot of boats and peo­ple, but I have tried to poke fun at my­self along the way, too. For now, my days as a writer are over.

Thanks for read­ing Sight­lines for the last six years.

Keep a look­out for Mike cruis­ing around Catalina Is­land aboard his Ber­tram.

By Mike Peters

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