Sounds on a Boat

A comment that a reader posted on my Winter Live Aboard and Lake Ice post got me thinking about sounds on a boat. I am sure that dirt dwellers who come aboard our boat are amazed by the myriad of new sounds they hear. There are dock-lines creaking in the chocks, halyards banging against masts, waves lapping, docks groaning, ducks quacking – the symphony of marine life. Yet I hardly hear it anymore. The cacophony of life on the water blends into the background and as long as the sounds are there, my subconscious can relax – all is well.

BUT – add in a sound that is not supposed to be there and WHAM – you freeze what you are doing, your body slams to attention and all ears are pricked intently – listening … listening… What was that?! Listening for the sound that strikes fear into the heart of every sailor – the sound of running water. Sometimes I even go so far as to check my bilge – just to make sure that water is not silently rushing into my home.

Sometimes you figure out what made the sound (a pot shifting in the cupboard) and you can relax. Other times, you never do quite figure out what made the sound in which case that sound is imprinted on your mind and you are tuned into it – in the back of your mind listening for it – hoping to never hear it again.

Then again, most of the time the marine band plays on, the music fading into the background and all is well.

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