BEST DAY ON THE WATER
BY BOATU.S. MEMBER STEVE DONOVAN
Have a “best day” you want to share? Paint the scene in a short
essay of 300 words or fewer, attach a photo or two, and email it to
us at Magazine@BoatUS.com with “Best Day” in the subject line.
My introduction to the water came from my father’s love of boating and fishing. Despite the common bond of amily and love of the water,
the chasm between father and son could
be as wide as a canyon. The arguments
between a gruff retired Naval officer and
his free-spirited son were legendary in
As the years rolled on, I settled into family life, and the old man softened up when
the grandchildren began to arrive. Seeking
to recapture the early years on the water,
I purchased a Mako 171 and introduced my
own kids to the wonders of the sea.
The following years saw my dad out on
the water with me when the weather and his
failing health allowed it. Our time together
allowed me to see the real man behind the
crusty exterior, and to grudgingly admit that
he was right about so many things we dis-
agreed on in my youth.
The last time he was able to come out,
we puttered through a no-wake zone, and I
looked forward to see him sitting with a cold
drink, eyes closed, the sun warming his face.
He was happy and content for the briefest
moment with no doctors, needles, or testing
in sight. At the end of the day, he “allowed”
me to pick up the tab at his favorite waterfront restaurant. I was glad to do it. It was a
small gesture for the sacrifices he made
for our family.
As he was passing two months later,
he smiled when I knelt at his bedside and
through tears told him the boat was ready
and gassed up at the marina waiting for us.
I lost the greatest man I ever knew that day,
and I cherish the memory of our times on
the water together as a father and a