Boats Fishing

Do you lend your boat to friends?

“Can I borrow your boat?”

It’s a question those of us who own our own watercraft have probably all heard.

Loaning boats to friends is a topic as old as time and one on which everyone seems to have an opinion. I personally don’t do it anymore, save a very precious few people I trust. I’ve just had far too many problems, with too many boats to lend them out any more.

Exhibit A?

The boat you see above was lent to a good friend for a bachelor party many moons ago. The same friend who forgot his oar this past summer and got himself into major trouble. Yeah, that guy…

What you can’t see in this image is the six-foot-long and foot-wide hole that ran the length of the starboard side of the boat. Perhaps you CAN see the aluminum frame that was ground down on that same side.

This was a multi-day affair and a bachelor party at that, so I should have known better, but I stupidly let my boat go. Luckily for them the carnage happened after they had gotten off the river.

The short version goes like this. It was dark and pouring rain when they took off from the takeout. My buddy hooked up the winch rope to the front of the boat, but neglected to strap down the boat to the trailer. The “story” goes that there was so much junk in the truck they couldn’t see out of the back when the boat slid off the trailer and was dragged miles down a dirt road — popping the boat and carving a huge hole in the rubber while simultaneously grinding the frame down a foot or so.

He claims the music was blasting and it was raining so he couldn’t see or hear what was happening. My only sadistic comfort in this whole deal was that said friend also dropped his phone in the river at the take-out, drenched some fly boxes and had the truck (also borrowed, of course!) break down on the way home. Ah, sweet schadenfreude.

This and a fair number of other borrowed boat instances that ended poorly have made me gun shy. What say you? Do you lend your boats out? And, if so, what’s your best story of regretting your generosity?

By Tim Romano.