My uncle loves boats so much that we call him Uncle Boaty. It’s not a very creative nickname, but my little brother once said it instead of Uncle Barry, and I guess it stuck. He doesn’t seem to mind, giving a smile whenever we say it. Uncle Boaty knows everything about boats. He knows how to build them and how to fix them. How to buy them and how to watch them. Every summer he takes us camping, and he brings his favourite boat with him. He always tries to teach us a new skill. Last year we learned how to do anchor winch repairs, which, if I’m being honest, is something I never thought I’d learn. I don’t know if I’ll own a boat when I’m older, but if I do, at least I’ll know how to fix my own anchor winch.
The one thing Uncle Boaty won’t do is fix his motor. He’s always complaining about it and never does it himself. Uncle Boaty always looks for the best outboard motor repairs around Melbourne, because he taught us that you should get the finest you can afford, otherwise you’ll just need to get it fixed again. He learned that the hard way, apparently, when he went cheap and had more issues the next day. It cost him almost twice as much as it would have to just go with the best in the first place.
Uncle Boaty hates swimming, which is why his love of boats is so interesting. It might be more accurate to say he has a fear of swimming. In his mind, the boat protects him from that horrible, endless ocean. I think that’s why he learned to fix most of it himself, because if something breaks, he won’t be forced to start swimming. I keep telling him that he should fix boats for a living, but he insists that it’s just a passion. I guess he must be happy teaching primary school kids. I just hope he’s up for their swimming lessons.