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2018

Grady Fanatic Encourages other Women to Stop Waiting on the Dock

 

Trish O’Carroll grew up boating on a small lake and always dreamed of dating a guy with a boat. Now, she wishes she’d realized sooner – “I can buy my own boat!” Not only did she buy her own boat, she and a friend embarked on an adventure that would prove to be a lifelong journey. A hobby that led to great experiences with her husband, children and friends, not to mention the quiet times she’s enjoyed on her own. 

 

When Trish, her husband Joe, and their three children moved to Maine in 1995 for Joe’s job, she was determined to live on the water and buy a boat. They bought a house on the shore where they shared a dock with 20 other families. At the time, about 10 of them had boats. Trish, and one of the boat owners, Annie Wells, became friends and decided to learn boating skills together. They began by taking a power squadron course that winter. When spring arrived, they were ready to get on Annie’s boat, one with the chart and one at the helm. Starting with short trips they slowly expanded from there. “You just have to get over the fear and start doing it,” she shares. “I see so many women sitting on the dock waiting for their husbands to take the family out on the boat and I think, ‘Why? Just do it yourself.’” She does acknowledge that it can be intimidating. “In Maine, the weather can change quickly, the tides can swing 6 to 8 feet and the coast is rocky,” she notes. “But you just have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and before long you get the hang of it.” Now, she and Annie venture out for all day trips to the Harpswells and Sebasco Harbor.

 

In 1998, Trish bought her first boat, a Grady-White Sportsman 180, an 18-foot center console. From there she started boating with her children, a daughter and two sons, who were all in elementary school at the time. “Every time we’d go out on the boat I would make one of them be the first mate for the day,” Trish said. “That way if something happened to me, they would know what to do.” As time went on, their adventures went further and further. Her coaching led her children to love boating as well. “Recently my daughter was boating with some friends in Wisconsin, and the person that was captaining the boat had a problem,” said Trish. “My daughter told me, ‘they asked who knew how to drive a boat, and I was the only one. I stepped in and it felt good.’ I’m glad that I instilled that confidence in her.”

 

In addition to boating with her family, Trish has always enjoyed taking friends out on the water. “Every year when school started back, a few moms and I would celebrate with a morning boat ride, complete with coffee and champagne,” she recalls. “It was such a hit we made it a PTA Auction item – a morning boat ride with coffee and breakfast.”  

 

Last year Trish went to Port Harbor Marine, where she’s had phenomenal experiences with sales and service for more than 23 years and upgraded to a Freedom 235, Grady-White’s 23-foot dual console boat. “My husband has now retired and has time to boat with me. We love the 235–it’s comfortable and stable! Over the years Trish has expanded her boating adventures outside of Maine. “Boating has so many rewards,” she says. “When we take trips, it’s fun to rent a boat and explore! Now we live in Florida six months out of the year and last year I had the boat shipped down there.” She goes on to note that when she’s in a new location she loves to look at a chart or map before deciding where to go. “It helps you see the big picture,” she says.  

 

Trish hopes to encourage more women to take up boating, which she likens to driving a car. “When we turn 16 we don’t hesitate to drive a car,” she says. “We learned to parallel park and pass trucks on the highway. Driving a boat is the same, you just have to get over it, practice, and go slow to start with.”

 

She hopes this thought will drive others to embark on a similar journey. “I love going out alone on Casco Bay with my cup of coffee in the morning,” says Trish. “The seals and the lobster boats are out, it’s a beautiful time to be on the water. I get cranky if I don’t get on the boat on a beautiful day–it resets your whole mood.”

Trish O’Carroll and longtime boating friend, Annie Wells on the dock.

Trish O’Carroll and longtime boating friend, Annie Wells on the dock.

Trish’s first Grady-White, a Sportsman 180 on it’s mooring in Falmouth Foreside, Maine.

Trish’s first Grady-White, a Sportsman 180 on it’s mooring in Falmouth Foreside, Maine.

Trish O’Carroll and longtime boating friend, Annie Wells on the dock.

Trish’s first Grady-White, a Sportsman 180 on it’s mooring in Falmouth Foreside, Maine.

Trish and her college roommates head out to a lobster shack in Potts Harbor during a mini reunion she hosted in 2018. Pictured left to right: Karen Willis, Trish, Beth Dolan, Kathy Looney and Celeste Jeffway.

Trish and her college roommates head out to a lobster shack in Potts Harbor during a mini reunion she hosted in 2018. Pictured left to right: Karen Willis, Trish, Beth Dolan, Kathy Looney and Celeste Jeffway.

Annie and Trish row the dingy to the boat for a day of adventure.

Annie and Trish row the dingy to the boat for a day of adventure.

Trish and her college roommates head out to a lobster shack in Potts Harbor during a mini reunion she hosted in 2018. Pictured left to right: Karen Willis, Trish, Beth Dolan, Kathy Looney and Celeste Jeffway.

Annie and Trish row the dingy to the boat for a day of adventure.

Trish’s new Grady-White, a Freedom 235, at home on the mooring

Trish’s new Grady-White, a Freedom 235, at home on the mooring.

Trish’s seaport blue, Freedom 235, framed by beautiful sea roses.

Trish’s seaport blue, Freedom 235, framed by beautiful sea roses.

Trish’s new Grady-White, a Freedom 235, at home on the mooring.

Trish’s seaport blue, Freedom 235, framed by beautiful sea roses.

Trish’s husband, Joe, enjoys driving the Freedom 235.

Trish’s husband, Joe, enjoys driving the Freedom 235.

Trish’s husband, Joe, enjoys driving the Freedom 235.