Another highlight has been the family’s encounters with certain adorable ocean dwellers. “These little pink-bellied dolphins will come up and swim alongside the boat, sometimes for 45 minutes at a time!” Rachel says. “Just skipping across the water, happy as can be. They’ll come all the way up and touch you. It’s incredible.”
In choosing a boat for their family, the Heards knew that feeling confident onboard was a top priority. “Realizing we were going offshore to fish, I wanted the safest vessel possible to bring the family out and bring them back. And it had to be high-quality,” Rick explains. “Quality and safety — these things are best when they go hand-in-hand. That led us to Boston Whaler without hesitation.”
“Rick just read and read and read, everything he could find,” Rachel recalls. “I remember him telling me you can saw the Whaler in half and it’ll still float, that it’s one of the safest boats there is.”
While they suspected they might ultimately want something larger, the Heards chose to start with a 250 Outrage “to make sure it was something we were going to continue doing,” Rick says. They instantly caught the boating bug, and soon decided that more feet were, indeed, essential. “My wife is a ‘the more the merrier’ type,” Rick says. “We knew we wanted the space to bring out a lot of people at once.”
“Well, we have so many friends and family who want to go!” she says.
Trading up to the 350 Outrage last summer meant even more chances to spread the fun around. They’ve wasted no time in putting hundreds of hours on the engines. “We’re going to try and wear it out as fast as possible!” Rick jokes.
The decision has proven to be the right one for their family. “The 350 has really been a good fit for us,” Rick says. “I love the way it’s designed, the convenience of it, the quality. It seems like if there was anything I might have wanted in a boat, Whaler already thought of it.”
The 350 Outrage also introduced them to Mercury® Joystick Piloting. “I do like the satisfaction of being able to maneuver the boat on my own,” Rick says, “but the joystick eliminates any nerves in tight quarters. And with the triple 300 Verados, the performance is fantastic.”
The Heards credit Mike Dyson, their sales representative at Austin’s MarineMax Sail & Ski, with making their experience such a pleasant one. “Mike has come down to the boat several times and gone out with us to show us how to use everything,” Rachel says. “He’s been great.” “Mike and Mark Singleton, the service rep — both of them are top notch,” Rick echoes.
Even when cold weather rolls into town, it’s hard to persuade the Heards to give up their beloved pastime. They’ve taken family Christmas photos on the Whaler, and they’ve even bundled up in ski gear to squeeze a few more precious hours out of the season.
“We hate to winterize it,” Rick says. “It’s sad to even put it up for a month or two.”
You won’t find them mourning lost opportunities very often, though, because they refuse to let a good one slip by. “We’re enjoying the boat every opportunity we can get,” Rick says, turning to Rachel and exchanging a grin.