Monday, 28 November 2005

What makes a boater?

I ask this question because I was vilified in a 'webrag' by someone who will remain nameless, because I don't own a boat and had the temerity to pass comment on boaty things. This person, a journalist for some years, has used his somewhat paltry position to make me look like the prat he is, and in my opinion does no good service to boating with his constant complaining and often ill informed rantings.

If I write a good piece on a boat related topic, then whether or not I own a boat should not not be a factor in my ability to write a good factual piece. True I don't have the boating ethos that many boaters have, but my time will come. Everyone has to start somewhere.

What I do have is a passion for the Waterways of Britain and a commitment to be a boater, SOON!

Is owning a boat important? There are thousands of people who, every year hire a boat and get out on the cut. Are they to be excluded from commenting on boaty things just because they don't own a boat? No certainly not! Neither should I!

Given the time I have spent learning about boats and boat related stuff and the commitment I have made, (I have sold my house to part fund my boat) the risk I have taken to put myself in a position to buy a boat (I have lived for the last two years or so in a terrorist area of a very terror oriented city) I cannot for the life of me see why I am not to be allowed to comment on things that have an effect on my life as it will be in the not too distant future.

To be honest a lot of people who do comment on boaty things have very little to say and say it with a verve that belies it's importance.

I don't really care what others say, I have every right to comment as I see fit.

I never comment on things of which I have no experience, handling, engines, builds, Power systems etc, but do comment on things that rely on interpretation of the rules and what is happening on the system.

No, I don't suppose you could say I am a 'real' boater, but you will not get me on commitment. I am as committed to the system and boating as any boat owning hypocrite that thinks I should not be allowed to comment.

We don't actually have a real right to freedom of speech in the UK, but I will stand toe-to-toe with anyone who seeks to stop me from having my say.