The universe loves me! Then it hates me. I send a text to my friend the local bay constable. He’s got a shed full of marine junk. He gave me a piece of teak I’m going to cut and use as a block for my bow roller, so it sits flush on deck. It’s a shot in the dark, “have any old life jackets laying around you want to sell me?”
I’ve recruited my cousin to come out with me on a test row of the $100 inflatable dinghy next nice day we both have off, and I need two life jackets before we can do that.
I’m at the DMV legally making the boat mine. I got the signed contract from the seller weeks ago and just signed it the other day. It felt weird, signing it. No turning back now. I get a text about the life jackets. Yes, he has some I can have. Have. Surely I’ll throw him a couple of bucks, but there’s no need. He gets a big box each year at work, and gives them out to people. I walk out of the DMV, sure that my number won’t be called anytime soon, and he’s there in a police truck. It’s funny. I always just assume cops won’t like me. Like they can sense my anti-authority demeanor from the way I dress, or walk or something. But this cop likes me. He’s a sailor.
Two brand new life jackets and I’m on top of the world! My faith in humanity restored, as it so often is on this journey. I thank him profusely. We chit chat about bottom paint and the splice I’m going to use on my ground tackle, which is arriving today!
The line at the DMV moves fast. It’s the best day ever. I know my new anchor is going to be on the stoop when I get home. I just got two free coast guard approved life jackets. I actually have all the correct paper work to get the boat put into my name. I see my number come up on the screen and jump to my feet before it’s even called.
A few cracks on the stapler later and she gives me the total. Still smiling, I hear her say, “That’ll be 300 and something dollars.”
WHAT. My jaw drops. I’m confused. Registration isn’t that much!
Tax. Bloody sales tax. I forgot the old buying a used car trick. Put a lower number on the bill of sale.
File it under boat buying tips from an idiot.