Does the word that just popped into your head show up here? Find out:

05 February, 2009

Wanna Buy a Boat?

In between finding lost Conquistador gold and ancient villages, my job brings me the occasional less glamorous assignment. Like reviewing piling removal projects. Ohh, the pilings.

And considering whether derelict vessels are historically significant, and if so, what might the state do to preserve them, or at least learn from them before they become scrap. Washington sets aside some money each year to retrieve sinking or otherwise moribund boats before they (further) befoul our waters. As the guy who has to deal with everything at least 50 years old in state-owned waters, I get to look into the boats' histories, evaluate their significance, and so on through the fascinating process of aquatic cultural resource management. You will thank me for stopping this explanation now.

Less than a year ago, I had never done this. Now I am an "expert," a word meaning "one who was not clever enough to foist off esoteric and onerous responsibilities. In this time, I have learned the following:

  • The final years of a boat's life typically involve ownership by dreamers without the resources to make dreams happen.
  • These dreamers eventually sacrifice their clothing a piece at a time, believing that they can stop leaks by jamming shirts into cracks.
  • Boats become storage units before they sink; if only the state would not fund derelict vessel removal, maritime archaeologists of the future would have rich collections of material culture.
  • Except for portholes and anything brass, which are stripped when the owner isn't looking. Or needs cash.
  • WWII is vaunted as an era of great historical import. I can choose from many officially recognized historical contexts in which to interpret vessels. I would like to add to these "Birth of subsidized over-production," because rather than engaging in battles and heroic sea-lifts, about everything I've seen thus far sat around waiting for the war to end.

No comments:

Post a Comment