Take a look around your neighborhood. Do boats in various states of repair dot yards and driveways? Is a Saturday afternoon sail the normal topic of discussion around the water cooler on Monday morning? Do people get excited by king tides? If so, you probably live in a town with boat culture.
It may be not be noticeable to the lubber, except at the marina, but to a sailor, boat culture is as distinct as the smell of sea air. In a place that’s got it, boats and boating activities aren’t necessarily expected of all community members, but they’re considered perfectly normal.
Although my hometown, Portland, has three chandleries and at least four marinas within city limits, you can still get strange looks hauling a boat down to the river on a February morning. Still, with two navigable rivers and hundreds of recreational fishing boats forming long, hog lines on the rivers, we’re right on the edge of having a discernible boat culture.
On the other hand, tiny coastal Pacific City, Oregon oozes boatiness. The town’s near century-long dory fishing history means that not only are people used to seeing boats, but they’re virtually everywhere. Dories poke out from behind sheds, they’re parked in the street, and abandoned in empty lots. And on the right day, the beach is crowded with them as they dramatically launch through the surf.
Do you live in a place with boat culture? Take this quiz and ask yourself whether any of the following goes on in your town:
If your score has less than three, you might live east of the Cascades. A rank of 3 to 5 means you’re on the way to having boat culture. At 6 to 8, your city is pretty boaty, and at 8 and above, you’ve achieved true boat culture.
How does your town or neighborhood show its boat culture? Let us know in the comments below.