Tidewater Boats: The Experience of Reel Luv’n
It is the tagline that brings excitement to peoples’ lives, as they decide exactly what model they want to own that will have them out on the water enjoying life. Tidewater states: “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a boat…and that’s kind of the same thing!”
This is the absolute truth. There are many who have altered their lives with the purchase of a Tidewater boat; from finally being able to go fishing with the family to watching the sunset with the one they love. And with Yamaha fuel efficient 4-stroke outboards, the Tidewater line is all about dependability.
But there is so much more to Tidewater than a tagline. In fact, there was a specific forum created to share information regarding the TW models, and the long list of attributes and abilities these boats give to their owners; while also being able to answer questions that interested people want to know before making their purchase. Tim and Colleen McDonald are the force behind the Tidewater Owners Forum. They are the creators who built this particular site so that everyone can share facts, stories – and even talk about a day when the Tidewater boat played Good Samaritan by saving lives.
Tim McDonald has boating in his blood. Growing up on the East Coast in Maryland, boating with his grandfather and uncle are among his greatest memories. The boating ‘bug’ didn’t take long to spark in Tim; when he was only fourteen he talked to his own parents about buying a small, 14’ fiberglass runabout.
Tim’s love of boats went straight through his teen years on into his Navy years. He continued to dream about being a boat owner, and married Colleen whose father was a boater. When they began speaking about buying their first boat, Tim, (as most fishermen do), wanted a Center Console…but Colleen was firm in the need to have a cabin. Walkaround was the answer, and a 2101WA Seaswirl Striper became theirs. The beauty and wonder of the Chesapeake offered both sport and tranquility, but soon the McDonald’s were off to Texas and then, (after eight years in the Lone Star State), headed to the Tampa area where the Gulf Coast beckoned.
Florida is one of those states where a having a boat almost feels like it’s a necessity. But with dreaming comes research, as all boat buyers know, and this time around Tim’s original craving became a reality. Researching 23’ CC boats, Tidewater stood out among the rest. Not only because of the hull design with that Carolina flair that would definitely offer the driest ride a CC-type boat could give, but also because of the width – above normal at 8’10”. The LXF model was extremely interesting for Tim and Colleen; the perfect fishing vessel that offered comfort for family and friends with its unique seating arrangement in the bow.
Heading to the local dealer, the 230LXF was on the lot and ready to go. But, as people should always remember before signing that check, Tim made sure to go online just one more time before making the deal that morning. Opening a boat trader ad…fate stared him right in the face. As Tim said: “There it was…our next boat.” Sitting in South Carolina on Lake Murray was the dealer; emails were exchanged, pics were sent, and the excitement was so strong that the McDonald’s headed 500 miles from home and finished the deal by midnight.
A factory demo, the boat purchased had only fifty hours, and because it was a demo, money was saved and this one-of-a-kind boat was all theirs. Red gel coat on the bottom of the hull; red powder coating on the leaning post and TTop rails; red LED’s throughout; an amazing sound system; and, a Yamaha 250 that allows them to cruise up around 30 – but has reached close to 50 MPH. Reel Luv’n became part of the McDonald clan. There’s literally nowhere they travel where people do not offer that thumbs-up and smile (most likely, because they want one of their own), and everyone wants to talk about this incredible beauty.
Fishing, as well as spending unforgettable time at the local sandbars, both North Anclote Bar and Anclote Key, Reel Luv’n is also perfectly suited for entertaining friends, as they admire these incredible, uninhabited barrier islands that are only accessible by boat. The clear, greenish-blue water, the bright white sands – Reel Luv’n is a definite ‘gem’ among the scenery.
The McDonald’s were so amazed by this boat, they began the Tidewater Owners Forum (tidewaterowners.com), a resource that was missing on the market offering data and info on the TW brand. The Forum is continuously growing, with members posting details that others need to know, and the mass of data that flows from member to member has made the Forum perfect for both TW owners and prospective owners.
Loading up fishing gear, ice and bait, and heading out into the GOM for some grouper fishing; catching dinner, and perhaps heading out to the local sandbar to hang out with friends, or enjoy the freedom of simply floating on Reel Luv’n as the suns sets, is definitely a lifestyle. But it’s not just a lifestyle: Reel Luv’n has actually been a catalyst for others, a Good Samaritan boat that not only changed, but saved, lives.
On a Memorial Day weekend, after having spent the day at the sandbar, the McDonald’s left after a bad wind storm came upon them. Heading home, Tim spotted something floating in the water and slowed down to investigate. There, two men were actually hanging on to a 5-gallon gas can for dear life. When Tim asked the ‘Captain’ where his boat was, it turned out it had sunk to the bottom of the gulf. Yelling out that there were two more men struggling 500 yards away, Reel Luv’n became the savior of four. The survivors had been in the water for about two hours by the time the McDonald’s saw them; 15-20 boats had gone past in the area but had not seen their turmoil. The only thing left of their boat was the gas can they clung to, and being five miles offshore, blowing out, they had tried to swim for it but the exhaustion was monumental, and only one wore a life vest. After saving the men from what they thought was going to be their death, the Coast Guard was called and the men were transferred.
This is but one story. Without the TW – without the McDonald’s ever purchasing their boat – lives could very well have been lost. There was a reason for that boating ‘bug’ that caught hold of Tim McDonald when he was only a kid, and that is definitely something to think about. So when searching for that ‘happiness’ that Tidewater speaks about, remember to head to the Forum, because there’s a great deal more that Tidewater can supply.
Original Source: Sportsmanlifestyle.com