As far as I can see, the only investment worse than a time share is a boat share. Where you share your boat with the local marine-repair facilities and/or repo man. There may be a biological reason as to why most of us guys just never learn our lessons with well-documented wallet drains like boats. 

You see, that neighborhood in the female brain that hosts imaginary wardrobes filled to the heavens with flattering shoes, dresses and blouses doesn’t exist in the male. Unless you veered into RuPaul’s neighborhood.

Instead, we dudes are cursed with an inability to fully comprehend how exasperating boat ownership is. We’ve all seen the formula “BOAT = Break Out Another Thou$and” and yet, we still make the purchase.  

The flip side is: Watercraft of all types provide boatloads of fun. Some of the best times of our lives have been in, on and behind a boat. But those wave-skimming memories come at a cost. Here’s my story.

In early September of 2016, eager to introduce my family to water sports – skiing, wakeboarding, tubing and face-planting — I located a used boat on craigslist. The 21-foot 1995 Larson bowrider was rated for about 10 people. Perfect for me and nine mechanics.

Better yet, the MerCruiser 350 engine had plenty of oomph! to whip kneeboarders across the water and participate in the Merrimack Valley Fat Dads Wakeboard Tour. 

White with blue stripes and carpet, the inboard/outboard had clocked less than 200 hours among the previous owners between 1995 and 2016. So $5,000 wasn’t a ridiculous amount for a low-mileage boat in decent shape. 

Assuming you get out in the craft frequently enough to justify buying a boat in New England.

After handing over the $5K to the Concord, N.H., sellers, I trailered our new child home and parked her in the driveway. Then I went about the business of dinging my checking account with boat and trailer registration, title and fuel costs leading up to its maiden voyage on the Methuen stretch of Merrimack River in late September.

I probably skimped on insurance. What could possibly go wrong in a 21-year-old boat on a river of barely submerged boulders? One of which wrecked the propeller of my previous boat (see also logicus minimus).

With coolers and capsize clothing stowed in the truck, we towed the Larson to the Methuen boat ramp. If only we could have Bea’s and the boat ramp, it would be a better world. Even without cutlets, the launch went without incident. 

On that fall day in 2016 Captain Daddyo, First Mate Jen and sailorettes Geni, 12, and Emerita, 1, cruised up the Merrimack River toward Dracut, then returned for a glide under the I-93 overpass and a relatively trouble-free cruise to Lawrence and back.

But somewhere during our little voyage the outdrive declined to raise, leaving that big hunk of black gadgetry and its propeller stuck in the lowest position. It appears the hydraulic fluid that controls the trim all leaked out while we were on the river. We barely got the boat onto the trailer with the outdrive all the way down to a pavement-scraping altitude.

That would be our first and only ride in the Larson.

I parked the wounded vessel in the driveway until I got around to calling the marine-repair shop, now on my speed-dial. I’d need not only the outdrive fixed, but since temperatures were dropping as fast as my account balance, the boat would need to be winterized.

Evidently, this check list plus a few other issues kept the boat fixers busy for weeks. I received a call Dec. 19 – six days before the costliest holiday of the year – saying that my boat was ready for pickup and that I should rob at least two banks on the way over. 

At the shop I was greeted by a smiling owner who presented me a detailed invoice which drained two pens of their ink. Finally, down in the low-right corner was the balance: $1,991.56. To summarize: That one trip to the repair shop cost about 40 percent of what I had just paid for the boat. 

Turns out, publishing newspapers requires a lot of weekend and night work so the boat never left its drydock space in the back yard. Until last week when I sold it to the husband of my wife’s friend for $500. Essentially, I sold a $500 trailer and threw in the boat just to get it out of the yard in a hurry.

How solid was that investment?

Well, let’s see. After subtracting my $500 windfall from the $7,000 I spent on a 21-foot piece of Fiberglass, we really only spent $6,500 for a two-hour boat ride on the Merrimack River. How idiotic is that?

And here’s the worst part. When I told my friend Linc I had just sold the boat for $500, he chuckled and said, “That’s great! It’s $500 towards your next boat.”

And I didn’t disagree.