What the heck is a boat card?

The first time we heard the term “boat card” was somewhere along the Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver, BC, in 2012. “Boat card”, I stammered, “What the heck is a boat card?” The fact that we were cruising novices was obvious.

I’ve come to learn that sailors, particularly those with a penchant for more than just a day sail here or there, tend to be storytellers and memory makers. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve met a few curmudgeonly salts. On the whole, however, I think it’s fair to say that sailors are friendly, helpful, and eager to connect. That’s where boat cards come in…


Sailing, not unlike backpacking, brings opportunities for relationships among people whose paths may otherwise never cross. Introductions are made with the knowledge that you share a common passion, and relationships are oftentimes forged during relatively brief but intense moments. For example, you may meet someone whose nationality or generation may be different from your own but whose longing for the sea unites you. You may not spend years as neighbors, but you may anchor near each other, sail as buddy boats for a few days, make rough passages within eyeshot of each other, and share meals and drink to celebrate safe crossings or stunning sunsets. Now, back to boat cards…

Boat cards, like business cards, are a means of facilitating connections. They provide a memorable reminder of a new friend and eliminate the need to scrawl contact information on a scrap of paper that is likely to get tossed out with the trash or run through the washing machine.

Because sailors are just as likely (and perhaps even more so) to recall a friend by his or her boat as by name, it was important to us that we have a photo of The Red Thread on our card. Thanks to the advice of our friends, Leonard and Lorena, on Got d’Fever, we also chose to add a photo of us. The name(s) of the owners, an email address, and a blog link are also typically included. On the backside of our card, we included our logo and a quote that resonated with both of us about the symbolism of The Red Thread. We printed them at zazzle.com on indestructible paper that cannot be torn and is water resistant. As advertised, the cards survived our beer dunking test during last week’s Seahawks game 🙂

Boat Card Collage

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