by Peter Charron member of the Thousand Islands chapter
The 1997 15′ Boston Whaler Dauntless belongs to our 14 year old daughter At the very early age she took up the challenge of learning everything she could about boating safety and passed the NYS boating license exam just a few days after her 10th birthday. The boat was gifted to her on her 12 birthday.
Therefore this boat’s story is not the usual biography of the many carefully preserved and beloved old woodies in the 1000 Islands. Instead, this boat speaks to another equally important tradition in the islands. The story of young family members learning boating at a very early age, almost as a necessity for their family; being entrusted, empowered and liberated with the river’s most iconic and practical craft.
Locally, we know the challenge of 1000 islands; huge areas of open water, heavy boat traffic, numerous shoals and frequent storms. When it came to finding the right boat for the St. Lawrence we knew exactly what would be the ideal choice, and scoured the area farther and farther afield. In the end we purchased the boat from the boat’s original and only owner, an elderly RV dealership owner in Florida. The boat was well maintained and kept indoors year round in one of his large RV service buildings. It was in almost pristine condition, especially considering it was a 21 year old saltwater boat. It has some scars, but to our daughter it is definitely a “Best in Show”.
We have a home in the 1000 islands. As you know, for Islanders, it is not unusual for a youngster to learn safe boating at a young age and have a beater boat, often a Boston Whaler. Having another trained boater with a backup boat is very important for the safety of the entire family. Thankfully, she is a very cautious young adult. For her, the boat, its operation in busy marinas, basic maintenance and knowledge to navigate the complicated granite shoals of the St. Lawrence is a very serious responsibility. A small Boston Whaler is a great choice for a young operator on the St. Lawrence; strong, unsinkable and stable. Her confidence has grown with each season as she now uses her boat to stay connected with her generation of fellow River Rats, ventures with them into Alex Bay for ice cream, runs errands for the family, picks up guests on the mainland and, and maybe her least favorite, regularly takes the trash off the island.
A young boater and her Boston Whaler is the real story behind this boat. An iconic River Kid story, and maybe not the usual boat and owner profile for the Antique Boat Society.