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Boating: Local and snowbirds together again

October 5, 2011
by boatguy Ed , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Welcome back, you early snowbirds. There are several indicators that point to your return. Three homes on the canal have been 'de-boarded.' The roads are fuller with non-Florida license plates and the Sunday football sports bars are crowded with Bears and Browns and 49-ers senior citizen fans. It won't be long before the road to Fort Myers Beach has a wait.

Saturday and Sunday passed, several "Dead End Canal Yacht Club" were spotted at various establishments watching the dizzying display of college and professional football. We are so lucky, over one shoulder is a beautiful water view with docked boats and the other side is our favorite teams. Most of these establishments prominently display their large flat screen televisions. Incomprehensibly, one of our favorites has obscured several TVs with large college school banners even during pro games?

This Sunday was especially pleasant for we 'year-rounders' as the first whiff of coolness dropped the humidity. DECYC member 'Deputy Dog' developed COPD last year and quit smoking, at least around us. He's wearing a very stylish oxygen device on his hip but despite the added oxygen, the heat and humidity is hard on him. Second hand cigarette smoke, forget about it! Dog appreciates that the local restaurants and watering holes have segregated areas for smokers but he's perplexed why the social clubs do not.

'Deputy Dog' gave up the social clubs because of the pall of smoke that is still hanging around. We were hoping the American Legion's remodeling would include a non-smoking section. In a totally unscientific inquiry, I asked a woman when and if and she replied that it will never happen. The remodeling does include a state of the art ionization machine to clean the air. Since she had a cigarette in her hand at the time we spoke, I assumed she was part of the resistance to smoking segregation.

Many of the "DECYC" and I are amazed whenever we go into the clubs where we are members. The absence of smoke in all of the public eating and drinking establishments has really spoiled us. Why a service club doesn't serve all of the men and women who went into harms way is baffling, especially when there are two 'separate' rooms in the building? The Veteran's Administration spends millions on stop smoking campaigns at the VA hospitals but the service clubs undo all that good! Sorry Dog, you should have quit smoking a few years earlier!

In these trying economic times every one is looking to save money. One of our members sold his boatlift? He paid $20K for this thing a while back and sold it for a lot less. I think I would have left it in because it makes the property worth more, but a bird in hand is better than a bucket of chicken. Tomorrow, I guess? And it isn't just boatlifts, it is boats, too. The DECYC canal is aging and the 'kids' are afraid that Grandpa will fall overboard before he tells them where the loot is buried. So the boat has to go.

A growing number of snowbirds are seeking employment. If you are looking for a ticket taker or some other non-strenuous type work that doesn't require excellent vision, then you should contact me for a long list of candidates.

"Why are you haunting the marinas for work," Boston Bob asked Chicago Bill. Bill explained that his lake cottage back home is now his only summer home and he usually closed it up, drained the water pipes and paid it no mind until late spring. "Now my daughter and her two kids are living in it and I have to buy the heating oil, pay the electric, bring in several cords of wood and have the drive cleared all winter!" Ooof!

A surprising number are actively seeking the cheapest happy hours now. This has exposed a divide in the club that was obscured by the return on investments. "There aren't as many sports in your crowd anymore," said 'NawLeans Sergio', one of our favorite bartenders. "Used to be a 30 percent tip was usual from a lot of you." Not Boston Bob? "No, never him but now it's more like 15 to 18 percent. I wish you'd bring it up in your meetings?"

When I pointed to his new Harley as the reason that I couldn't bring it up, he ignored me. We all have problems, and I'm sure Serge appreciates having a job this summer even though we sports were less generous. The year-rounders are pretty loyal, having forgone the 'cheapest' prices for the pleasant company of pleasant bartenders and inexpensive fare. We understand the prices and of the off-season deals are changing but we have to ask, 'where's the love?'

I would never dream of trying to tell the owners of these places how to run their businesses but remember one truism that I think fits. "It's cheaper to keep 'em than to try to get them back." I predict that the first place that comes up with a 'local appreciation card' will get most of the locals coming in this season and next off-season. Go to for listing of cheap happy hours!

Next Week; The Greatest Water Evacuation Ever!

If you want to save money watch, Boater's Treasures TV returning to Comcast 9/14 later this month or go to! Send questions and comments to or to this newspaper. Stop by the 'U-Sell It & Storage' on San Carlos to say hello to my long-suffering wife but don't expect to see me there. I am retired (but she isn't) from making the BEST bottom paint ever!



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