When you enter a boatyard chances are you are there to work on your boat or have someone work on your boat. As you look around the facility you will notice many things common to all boat yards. Most yards have a crane or two to get your boat, engine or mast into the facility. They will have an office equipped with a coffee pot, maybe a computer, a decent assortment of repair supplies, an office person and if you are lucky, an owner who is ready to help. You will also find helpful yard personnel who know their way around the site blindfolded. You will encounter fellow boaters, subcontractors and what I like to call “colorful characters.” Beware of the latter and utilize their services for entertainment purposes only.
I like to equate the site you are standing on to a reef. A reef which is a living and breathing organism. This reef supports various life forms both permanent and transient. As the reef goes, so goes all of these reef dwellers because without the reef, what would they have but open water? The reef provides shelter and nourishment.
The hierarchy of this reef is as follows: the reef itself, sponges who clean and filter the water, molluscs who scour the reefs surfaces and keep it clean, various plants who take the sunlight and create oxygen for all of the reef and it’s occupants, and finally pelagic sea life which visits and forages for a living at various levels within the ecosystem.
So when you next visit this reef, keep in mind the impacts your visit will have upon such a sensitive ecosystem. Your choices and actions impact the reef and over the long term the reef may or may not survive based upon your actions.
For example, the reef does charge a fee for visitations and many visitors desperately try to minimize this fee by aligning themselves with associates who promise safe passage upon the reef with minimal costs. In many instances these associates do not have the best intentions for the reef as a whole when addressing your concerns. Their actions usually cost the visitor far more than if they were to visit the office prior to making third party arrangements.
The reef is a sensitive place and the reef keeper is ever vigilant to provide a safe and comfortable visit for you. So the next time you visit, rather than doing everything in your power to avoid the head office, come in and meet the reef keeper. He or she is excited about your visit and will be happy to assist you during your stay. Remember that the reef keeper knows all of the cast of characters who live on the reef and will gladly assist you with your project. Don’t be afraid, we won’t bite, no matter what you may have heard, because the biggest teeth happen to be in that critter who just swam by you outside of the reef keeper’s office.