OK Boomers, Others Like To Collect As Well. Let Me Pontoonificate.

Not a boomer!

The other day in the comment section a classic debate started brewing about Boomers and how Millennials and Gen Z don’t want to collect anything.  As a marketing professional, I thought mmmm? That makes no sense. Generations of course have differing interests and as a group can effect things, but the collecting gene? That’s baked in. Part of human software. I recall my oldest son at age 2 collecting ALL the Snow White Dwarfs. Or Little Miners now in our PC world.

Not the 7 Dwarfs BTW

My other son a Gen Zer is making a good living collecting, and curating things from the past as art with this business LOWTIMERS .In fact there is a huge movement among Gen Zers to the simplicity of our analog past. Old Typewriters, Vinyl Records, the list goes on and on.  The difference is how they view it all. I have talked about this since the start of Woody Boater, They see our childhood memories as art. Not a boat, or an old record, but art. Pure art.

Art on art

So what in the hell does this have to do with boats? Everything. Your childhood dream of owning a boat is going to die with you. Sorry. DEAD. But if you think about your classic boat as art, YES ART, then you will enjoy it, and see things in it that you didn’t see before. And yes, its value will increase, not be worth what it was before it was restored. Cause you spent 50K on an old outboard. Where as the ratty original is worth more because it hold the image of authenticity.

My hero, Jethro! The smartest man I know.

Here is the bottom line. Its simple. As Millennials, start buying second homes, or because they can move to the water and work from home the ones that appreciate life as an art form, will be attracted to classic boats vs a new plastic pile of crap. Because one is a statement of art, and the other is.. Well. just a boat.  If you think I have left the planet and spewing intellectual crap here. Its just a dam boat.. Well, here is a 101 on what art is.
What are six functions that art fulfills?

Ramsey Bros art

The six functions are:

Art for Delight – A Simple Boat Ride, the smell of gas , oil, and air all surrounded by the glory of varnished wood.
Art as Commentary – I reject new for new sake, I see nature in my boat. My boat is the only one welcome on the water. I appreciate history and simplicity
Art in Worship and Ritual – BOAT SHOWS and all they include.
Art for Commemoration – Restoration of the process, why we use varnish not modern materials. Our Woody Boats can just sit there in a mall and commemorate our history of our industrial revolution.
Art for Persuasion – Why we all love Chris Crafts, they understood this, and used imagery of our boats and babes as a lifestyle. BRANDING
Art as Self-Expression – Take your pontoon boat mini van and stick it. You jet ski tool! Need I say more..


Mmmmm, you can say each one of these about a Woody Boat, Classic Car and so on. These are generational truths that are timeless. So does this explain why Triples are less now? No. Maybe its the hard fact that restoration costs more than the art is worth, because one other truth is Art is at the top of ones needs. Only after you have secured your basics of a roof and food, do you look for more emotionally driven things to make you happy.

Maslow’s_hierarchy of Woody Boat Needs

So in conclusion, thank god. Its not generational, but more needs driven. What people collect is related to position in lifes pyramid and what interests them as art. Sorry, this is a lot for a Sunday Morning. Imagine having to write it. Dang, I am going to back to sleep now. Since I cant go out for an art ride!

Wait, yes I can! Like taking a painting off the wall and flooring it.

22 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    When it comes down to it we have to LOVE being able to land on the ART pad.
    Art is subjective and really can’t be argued because it is different for everyone.

  2. Dave Clyne
    Dave Clyne says:

    Thanks, Matt. Really enjoyed touching all the bases in the functions of art section. Only made it to Maslow’s third level. I guess I need more coffee.

  3. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    I think there are bigger generational issues. Millenials are not as secure or successful financially as prior generations coupled with higher student loan debt. They won’t be buying second homes and boats until a higher age than their predecessors. I look at the 30-35 year olds I work with, and they are still behind where I was in my mid 20’s. Starting home ownership and families later means they won’t be empty nesters with accumulated wealth until much later…if ever.

    And, before you buy a second home, you need a first home. They have lower rates of home ownership and higher rates of mobility. Urban apartment living is a lifestyle choice that leads to minimizing physical possessions and limiting collections to small portable things. Not boats.

    It will never be all of a generation, but the trends suggest the number of people with interest will shrink.

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    said it before…say it here again…I don’t really have any art…at least as we defined it back in the day…..paintings, sculpture etc.
    But I do have that one off Argentine Runabout! See I have thought about selling her lots of times…because often as you all know I Go Boating…but rarely in her. So I tow her out of the barn and wash her and walk around behind and take in her lines and shape….put her right back in the barn convinced that boat is my art collection! I collect old book, old tools, and old boats….but the art is in the Argentine.
    John in V

  5. Tommy
    Tommy says:

    Thanks guys for your recent articles and comments. I’m new to the addiction but this place has taught me so much and gave me the confidence to buy my new Woody. What I learned was what has been said before. Buy a boat that is done, hire someone who knows what they are looking at and fall in love with the right model. The first two you taught me the last, well, cant be taught. I’m now a everyday reader to help me get through the winter so I can take out my girl out for the second ride. I’m not to young but from where I sit the market seems very active. On our lake in Wisconsin there has been a modest growth of ownership but there are friends sitting on the sidelines waiting to fall for the right boat. Thanks for all the great words.

    • Troy in ANE
      Troy in ANE says:


      I am anxious to learn what model you “Fell in Love with”.
      Please post some pictures. (must be under 1meg)

      Personally I have been in LOVE with the 50’s Bull Nose models long before it was cool. There was a time when I felt ostracized by the hobby because I was not into the pre-war models. The hobby seems much more accepting and welcoming today. (Unless of course you are into pontoons, than they still go out of their mind. Better get ready they will be the next big thing in Classic Boating!)

  6. Arne
    Arne says:

    My ex was a painter – when hanging around with her art crowd, people would ask me what I did artistically. My response was and still is -“I restore full size bent wood sculptures of boats!”. It usually took about 4-5 seconds for their minds to figure out what I did.

  7. tparsons56
    tparsons56 says:

    I would say that when you dock your classic boat in a public place and people stop and take pictures of it then that constitutes “art”.

  8. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    Music is art as well and the sounds of woodies idling or cruising is music to my ears as well as the visual impact of all boating aspects, the hardware, instrumentation, upholstery, patina and also the smells of varnish, the bilge and the leather upholstery all contribute. And as us old farts go to that great marina in the sky, heirs will inherit not only the collections but the homes, cottages, or barns full of treasures. Whether they like them will be a direct result of the experiences enjoyed growing up.

  9. Briant
    Briant says:

    M-fine above said it better than I did the other day. Some of you took my comment that I don’t know anyone who has a collection of something as a slam against Ok Boomers who collect old outboard engines and that I must be a sad little man. Wrong. I just simply do not know anyone with a collection of stuff. My friends do not collect beer bottles…or boats….or cars….or classic paintings….or anything. Ok, ok one friend has two old cars, but I would hardly call that a collection.

    The gentleman who really got on my case said that I should perhaps find something from my past that made me happy and that I should re-acquire many of those objects again to reconnect. Uh why? I grew up boating and camping and those are absolutely perfect childhood memories. I don’t need to go out and collect camp stoves or sleeping bags to stir up all of those great memories. No, we went out and purchased a wood boat and camping gear and have taken our kiddos to do the same things for years now. They love camping and boating and staying in cabins etc etc. now, if you feel the desire to go out and buy up any outboard motor you see because one tormented you when you were six years old, then great! Purchase away! Collect for arts sake! I just simply do not know anyone that buys stuff en masse.

    And one other thing since I am on the soapbox. The same gentleman said in a roundabout way that he had the right to collect stuff and that he didn’t give a rat’s stern end what happened to his collection when he bit the Prince screw. True, he has the right to collect whatever he wants….but frankly, he does not have the right to leave it to beaver to figure out what to do with his old stuff when gone. I have been at that end before and it was time consuming and had to spend my own cash to dispose of the “collection”.

    Simply, collect your art, have fun, relish the memories, BUT…please put detailed instructions and perhaps even s9me financials aside to help aid those you leave behind to get rid of your collected bits. It would just be a nice thing to do. Oh, and it might help those remaining to not feel any guilt about throwing your collection out or to the wolves.

    See. Happy Bob Ross comments. Happy happy little words.

  10. jim g
    jim g says:

    The art boat is a grey 18′ sportsman that I donated to the Blue Ridge chapter for the kids that come to the Hartwell boat show get to decorate. We’ve been doing that from the mid 90’s. It’s a big draw for the kids. Which in turn drags the parents with them.

  11. Chase Fulbright
    Chase Fulbright says:

    We are about enjoy “art” rides all week this week. Thanksgiving at the lake and 65 degree weather. Lots to be thankful for!!

  12. JMart
    JMart says:

    “My greatest fear is that when I die my wife will sell my collection for what I told her I paid for it.”

  13. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Greg, I really don’t know how to post pictures. But there are a couple of stories about the Argentine boat on here.
    But I don’t know how to search for them…but I do know how to Go Boating…such is my life….
    John in Va

  14. Tommy
    Tommy says:

    Hay Troy
    Sorry for the delay in uploading pictures. She is so new we haven’t named her yet. These pictures and a short video is all I have to keep me warm through the long cold winter. The story of her becoming mine is a great one I will have to put out here sometime. I’m truly blessed.

  15. Chris M Mars
    Chris M Mars says:

    I’m a long-time lurker and officially qualify as a Millennial (1984) BUT I like to identify as someone much more mature….or more refined.

    While some of us “Millennials” might be behind others in the stages of life as M-fine said, one major difference is simply priorities. My instagram and facebook are not filled with “Epic trips” and the coolest tech like some millennials….it’s all boats, family and friends. Too many people my age waste their money on stuff my grandparents and parents simply didn’t have to buy. None of it existed! I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding it as well.

    That being said, I’ll admit the collection addiction lives in us younger folks and confess to owning 10+ Correct Craft’s all in a variety of restoration stages. A growing family and still actively water skiing competitively means we’re not ready to make the jump to a wood boat just yet. Sure, I could sell them all and be able to buy a wood boat but it certainly wouldn’t go over well with my family considering the way we use these boats.

    So, at this point in my life I fall somewhere between the “Love” and “Belonging” in Maslow’s_hierarchy of Woody Boat Needs. The love has been there since I was a kid. Not sure we “belong” in the Woodyboater world at this stage in our lives but wanted to share our story as a future Woodyboaters.

    Here’s a few Correct Craft Fan’s enjoying our 1972 Correct Craft Ski Nautique “Promo” at a CCF reunion.

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