2019 Boat Show Inspirational Panel Introduction

Good Evening, my name is Marilyn Michael and I am co-director of NWWB. Vivian Strolis and I welcome you to this year’s inspirational panel.

The title of our panel tonight is WHERE OUR BOATS HAVE TAKEN US. And, as you will see, in these incredible women, many of those places have not been physical destinations.

Where has your boat taken you? Most immediately it has taken you to a day of fun and inspiration at the boat show.

Even if we are in the dreaming phase, we are here learning and letting this activity expand our skills, our talents and extend our dreams. When people become active in boating their activities began changing their lives,

from providing a peaceful, enjoyable retreat from a hectic life on land,

to providing a completely new way of living as a liveaboard,

to joining the ranks of centuries of explorers as a long-range cruisers.

BOATING has changed our lives.

Look back at YOUR boating life — at the dock or in local waters and beyond,

if you live aboard, look at the ways you’ve changed your thinking about the necessities of day to day living,

if you’re a cruiser, look at the skills you learned – electronics, charts, basic mechanics,

if you are a weekend pleasure boater, look at the relationships you enjoy that you never would have but through boating.

So many aspects of boating change us.


Unlike many other activities, boating changed my life in many ways. Our first boat, a 28’ Newport sloop, got me in shape out of fear. I was sure I didn’t have the upper body strength to haul the sails — so I took up lifting free weights.

I still have the electric blue body suit and fluffy beige ankle warmers I wore on those early 80’s mornings in the gym!

I found I did have the strength, it was skills and knowledge I needed. We were kind of a trial by error – hands on learning couple. We loved boating in the San Juans and didn’t lack courage — realizing only later how little we knew.

We started dreaming about offshore cruising. —  Instead of ransoming our future for the perfect boat at that time, we bought an older custom built 45’ ketch to learn on. We lived aboard 3 days a week for 5 years in Anacortes and learned we loved the more simple life and interesting activities in our new neighborhood.

We learned to varnish,

repair fiberglass,

we learned what Get Rot was,

we learned to caulk — one time while crawling around the deck at midnight in the rain.

We learned how to manage two masts without roller furling.

We learned about the realities of offshore cruising from those who’d been there

And, one day, a very important life changing awareness occurred to us.

We were walking down the dock from a very pleasant breakfast cruise to Deer Harbor for Eggs Benedicts and Bloody Marys onboard our neighbor’s Ocean 50 power boat. We looked at each other and had an epiphany, we didn’t haul the sails very much, we’d learned that the offshore experience just wasn’t for us, but we loved regional cruising and the dockside lifestyle…

”Maybe we’re powerboaters!”, we exclaimed.

In a short amount of time we sold the ketch, sold our house, bought a 42’ fiberglass Chris Craft and moved aboard full time. Boating truly changed OUR lives. It took us to a place we never could have imagined.

Think of boating as the most powerful self-esteem building,  confidence building,

physical improvement and educational program in which you could ever engage. If you haven’t thought about it this way, it’s personal benefits to YOU are another way it is offsetting some of the money and resources it so often requires.

But you must LET IT engage you,

you must LET IT help you grow.

Make a commitment to yourself as the excitement and inspiration of the boat show is still with you. Pick some way that you are going to grow through boating this year. Some place you will let your boat take you that isn’t a destination.

Some skill you will learn or expand your knowledge of,

Some responsibility onboard that you will take charge of,

Some kind of involvement in a boating organization that you will step up to

And this brings me to another commitment we’re going to ask you to make. It’s the hallmark of Northwest Women in Boating.

At whatever level of boating expertise you have, —

you have knowledge, —

you have skills, –

you have enthusiasm.


Promise yourself to reach out to one or more boating women on your dock,

in your organization, or even a dreamer you meet who wants to boat someday.

Say something, do something, encourage them in whatever ways you can. Join us in continuing to build a strong supportive community of boating women in the Northwest.

Where has your boat taken YOU? Where will you let it take you?

Let it take you to places you’ve never imagined,

let it improve you as a person,

let it strengthen you as a woman,

let it change your life.