Emily and Bernhard Schmid have a Boston Whaler habit.
It began when the St. Petersburg couple bought a 10-year-old, 16-foot Dauntless, a boat they would enjoy for 10 years. For Emily, the modest vessel was a reminder of the little Whaler her father had as a kid on Cape Cod.
Today, the Schmids own a 24-foot Dauntless Pro and captain a 42-foot Outrage. But it was as owners of the 16-foot Anchor Lady that they became familiar with Whaler culture.
“We were impressed by the support we got from Boston Whaler,” said Bernhard, who grew up in Austria where his boating experiences were limited to sailing and paddling on lakes and rivers. “It was very easy to call Whaler and get parts and the assistance we needed to keep things in shape. We started enjoying the brand a lot.”
The Anchor Lady became a focal point in their lives. When they moved from renting to home ownership, a chief consideration in a house was a garage large enough to house the boat.
Selling the 16 was emotional, Bernhard said. The Schmids were picky about whom they sold it to, but they had deemed themselves ready to move up to a bigger boat. They opted for a larger version of the Dauntless they had made their rookie mistakes on, one large enough to be outfitted with a comfortable half-tower.
The Schmids use the 24, named the Reel Lady, for flats fishing and joining flotillas off sandbars. Emily likes lazing in the tower, even when the boat is on plane. “I’m up there waving like a prom queen on a magic carpet ride,” she said.
In 2017, the boat family was joined by a big sister, the 42-foot Knot Reel. The Schmids captain the larger boat for offshore bottom fishing and trolling, entertaining and cruising, often with family and friends and never
without their Jack Russell, Tater. The dog, said Emily, is tiny but tough enough to pull a tuna across a fishing deck.
“Our COVID refuge has been doing West Coast cruising and anchoring,” Bernhard said. In purchasing all family Whalers, the Schmids dealt with sales consultant Jayson Lake at MarineMax in Clearwater.
Bernhard described Lake as an owner’s advocate.
“Jayson makes sure that if you have an issue with your boat, the service team does its job,” he said.
“He is one of those sales guys who never leaves you high and dry,” added Emily, giving Lake the perfect compliment for a man in his role.
Not that Bernhard leaves much to chance. He is that rare individual, Emily said, who reads owner’s manuals from cover to cover, and he knows his boats “inside and out.” When their Outrage was being built, the Schmids stopped by the factory to check on progress. Engineers there told them that they were setting up their boat precisely as they would have.
There was a time when the Schmids learned a few lessons the hard way. In the Anchor Lady, they once ran out of gas within a few hundred feet of a marina in Marathon just as it was closing. Trailering the 16 to the Keys on another occasion, their progress was interrupted three times, twice by blown trailer tires and once by a broken bearing. Now, they carry spares. And, on one occasion, the Schmids took advantage of MarineMax’s mobile dispatch service. Again they were in the Keys when a steering actuator went out on their boat. A technician arrived from Clearwater at 5 in the afternoon, worked until 11 to replace the part and saved the trip. Both of the Schmids are consultants, he in health care IT and she in organizational development, and both have a captain’s license. They hope to take a month’s sabbatical this year and cruise to Exuma in the Bahamas. They love the Outrage. “It does everything,” Emily said, describing in particular the boat’s summer kitchen and its freezer and refrigerated compartments. At Whaler rendezvous events, she has become known for preparing bacon and eggs with plenty to share. “That’s how you make friends at a marina,” she said. “When we head out,” said Bernhard, “it’s not do we have sandwiches packed, it’s do we have a charcuterie board.” At present, the Schmids are building a house on the water in St. Pete. Their first priority for the new place? Boat slips. “If I could have five boats at one time, I would,” Emily said.
“Jayson makes sure that if you have an issue with your boat, the service team does its job.”
Music, perhaps, to Jayson Lake’s ears.
Steve Bornhoft is the executive editor at Rowland Publishing in Tallahassee, Florida.
To learn more about MarineMax visit MarineMax.com.