This spring, as Palm Beach County joined the rest of the country in shutting down workplaces in an attempt to flatten the curve of Coronavirus spread, Gulfstream Boat Club Members Evan and Stephanie were amongst those striving for the delicate balance of productivity and family-time with their daughter Ava.
Like countless other families, they juggled working from home with keeping a curious and energetic toddler safe and entertained. It was hard explaining to Ava, 2, why she couldn’t see her friends or visit the park or do any of her usual activities. But with Stephanie in the first trimester of her second pregnancy, she and Evan weren’t taking any risks.
“We kept ourselves in a bubble,” Evan says. And while the young family has managed to remain safe and healthy, as the weeks stretched they struggled to find ways to fill the days and engage little Ava. But as boat ramps and marinas re-opened, it became clear what to do.
A lifetime spent on the water
Evan, a Gulfstream member since 2017, was no newcomer to the water. As a child, Evan spent years on the water with his Dad, who first taught him the basics of boating and water safety, then much more advanced boating skills as he got older. It was a way for father and son to bond, and Evan has many fond memories of those years with his dad, but even more appreciation for the cumulative knowledge that made him truly proficient at the helm.
When Evan turned 16, his father offered him a choice: did he want a car or a boat? It was safe to say that his passions were fully cemented as a young man aboard that 20ft center console!
In 2017, when he and wife Stephanie were expecting their first child, they were looking for a way to enjoy the water and their last months before parenthood. They joined the Club with a six-month membership, a perfect way for them to enjoy boating life without the commitment of ownership.
Each week they’d drive down to the marina with furbaby Bella, and enjoy a morning or afternoon of the intracoastal and Lake Boca. Six months gave them just enough time to rekindle Evan’s love for boating. Though they would take a break from the Club after Ava was born, they knew they wanted to share the boating lifestyle with her as soon as she was old enough.
Boating days are family days
With these unprecedented times upon us, Evan and Stephanie felt that the spring of 2020 was the right time to get back to their saltwater roots. If life on the water suited their whole family, it could be the perfect way to get out of the house and immerse themselves in Florida’s coastal scenery without leaving their bubble.
With the Club’s “try before you buy” trial, Evan and Stephanie were able to see how Ava would handle being aboard a boat before they committed to another membership. The ocean is clearly in this little girls veins, as she jumped aboard with glee and has taken to boating like a fish to water.
These days Evan, Stephanie, Ava and Bella the Dog are regulars on the water. Evan says he appreciates the high-quality fleet maintained by the Club; their boat of choice is the 25’ Key West Dual Console. Evan and Stephanie prefer it for taking out their young daughter thanks to its comfortable seating and the large hardtop that provides ample shade. They go out in the morning before it gets blazing hot and the waterways start filling up with other boaters.
They love Lake Boca, where they can drop anchor and Ava can splash and play in the shallows, and on very calm days will head out into the ocean. By the time Ava is ready for her afternoon nap, they’re ready to call it a day and head back to the dock.
Getting creative while staying safe
Evan notes that the pandemic forced them to get creative about how to get out of the house, and the result is that going out now feels really special for Ava. “The water fixes the worst days,” says Evan, and he shared that when his daughter is feeling especially bored or lonely at home, suggesting they go out on the boat brings immediate smiles.
Getting out on the water is perfect for escaping the doldrums of the day to day without putting his child and pregnant wife at risk. They call leaving the house “Going on an adventure!” And when they’re headed to the marina, the adventure never disappoints.
That family-first feeling
He says that the Club staff elevate his family’s experience. As they’ve all adapted to changes in protocols that keep staff and Members safe, what hasn’t changed is how friendly everyone is. He says of Ava that one of her favorite parts of going out on the boat is chatting with the dockhands, who she calls The Boat Men. She particularly adores Jesse, her number one Boat Man, and is convinced that all the Boat Men are best friends.
With another baby on the way, Evan is more confident than ever in his proficiency as a boater. He says that he and Stephanie manage having a toddler on board beautifully, and are looking forward to when they’ll be able to bring their second-born along and initiate her into life on the water.
Do you have a story to share about your family’s experience as Members of Gulfstream Boat Club? We’re celebrating our Members and what they love about life on the water. If you’d like to be profiled in a future article, we’d love to hear from you! Contact Ben.