Engaging in a new hobby together has meant more for the Christ family than they could ever imagine. Their boat has become a place where everybody drops what they are doing and engages in real life, together.
When the Christ family bought their boat, a 2018 Regal 28 Express, they did not know how to react to the new experiences and responsibilities that come with boat ownership. What happened was that their life changed in a positive way. The boat has become a joint centerpiece for Travis, Coleen and their kids Cali, 23, Caroline, 20 and Devon, 14 – in a time when work and social media tend to claim more and more of our attention.
”It’s been a great way for all of us to pretty much put all that stuff aside and really get into the moment where we are all out there and together,” says Travis.
On the boat each of them focus on their particular interests; everything from preparation of the supplies that they need, to planning and navigating, learning to dock and drive in challenging conditions or getting the music connected. Everyone stays engaged, talking over points of interest and living in the moment, describes Travis.
”And it doesn’t seem in any way contrived, like we planned to do some family event so the kids should get off social media. It’s just really natural and everyone truly enjoys it,” says Travis.
Their boating story begun after the family moved to Charleston in South Carolina, a city surrounded by water on three sides and home to a lot of boating enthusiasts. At the time, the older daughters had moved from home and Travis and Coleen saw the chance to experience a new kind of life on the East Coast. In the midst of a lot of moving angst for Devon, the boat also contributed to make it easier, explains Travis.
”Moving at any age is hard for a kid, and the boat unexpectedly helped ease that transition and was even a catalyst to making it part of some of the best times of his life.”
Devon was excited to help the family pick out the Regal 28 Express with a 350hp Volvo Penta engine and has gone from knowing almost nothing about boats to spending a great amount of his spare time either on the boat or talking or learning about boating and fishing.
”It’s been terrific for him, not only to learn a lot of new skills, but it’s been great for him with his new friends as well,” says Travis.
The Charleston harbor area is fairly complicated to navigate since the tides are significant, the currents are strong and there are a lot of low depths to pay attention to. The Christ family have had to learn a lot of boating skills and had to start off quite carefully.
”Devon has especially picked up a great amount of skills, he’s better at a lot of boating than I am. He and I go out boating a lot and I think we make a pretty good team out there,” says Travis.
On the weekends the family often go out together, either for waterskiing, fishing, tubing or just cruising. Sometimes they take the boat up to Myrtle Beach, a four-hour ride north in the intracoastal, or south down to Savannah, and even spend the night in the boat. But mostly they go out for just a few hours at a time, sometimes in the late afternoons – depending on the time of the year – but also in the early mornings.
”We’ve had many 4 am launches where we get out in the dark and wait for the sun to rise, so you can use the boat almost any time,” says Travis.
In the 80’s and 90’s, when Travis grew up in Arizona, he and his family drove a Volvo Penta powered boat on the desert lakes in the area, which he describes as a totally different boating experience. Today, the desert lakes have been replaced by salty water and jumping dolphins, but his affinity for Volvo Penta was still there in the research for a boat that would fit the family’s expectations.
”Getting a Volvo Penta engine was high on my list. We go out 50-100 miles offshore and of course we want to feel that mechanically we are going to be sound, and that we can have a great deal of confidence in our engine. Ultimately, it’s all about reliability. Volvo Penta has got a great reputation and has been in the marine industry for so many decades, and with my own personal experience I knew that I could have a lot of confidence in a Volvo Penta engine,” says Travis.
He is looking forward to a lot more boating together with the family, getting to know more about the history of Charleston that goes back to the original settlers in America, and just spending time together. The boat has contributed to fulfill the dream.
”I think that everyone who gets a boat has some kind of boating dream attached to it. For us, it has added more balance to our relationships and to our lives in general, so that’s been great,” says Travis.