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The Boat Guy: Chip Does TrawlerFest Anacortes (VIDEO)

So what constitutes a trawler and why would there be a festival to celebrate whatever the heck a trawler is? I have a concept in my head of what I think a trawler is, but it’s only a concept.
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Okay, so what constitutes a trawler and why would there be a festival to celebrate whatever the heck a trawler is? I have a concept in my head of what I think a trawler is, but it’s only a concept… I really couldn’t give you a good definition of a trawler.

The first thing that comes to my mind is that a trawler is a “traditional” boat by appearances, as opposed to something more modern-looking or high tech. Also, in my head, (and trust me, there’s some strange and wrong concepts swimming around in there), a trawler’s look and layout evolved from “work boats” from an earlier era.

My father Stan, who, as I’ve admitted before, was the real “Boat Guy,” loved traditional-looking boats. He really didn’t care for modern or “slick” looking boats. I think we get our religion, politics and our taste in boats from our parents, so my taste is, not surprisingly, similar to his. I love traditional-looking boats! So, naturally, I was excited to go to Anacortes to take in my first Trawler Fest. Frankly, any reason to travel to Anacortes is cool with Sam and me. We love it there. It’s a beautiful, scenic town and the gateway to what I think is one of the most beautiful places on the planet- the San Juan Islands.

Because TrawlerFest is a “festival” based on what I think are traditional-looking boats, I imagined a low-key event, populated with a bunch of old guys with grey beards, smoking pipes, teaching people how to do macramé. Well, I was wrong! I couldn’t be wronger. TrawlerFest, which is put on by Passagemaker Magazine, was full of live music, great food, and fun people there to party and meet new and old friends and learn a lot about enjoying being on the water.

TrawlerFest is one of the best resources for learning I’ve seen in one spot. Remember, Sam and I are new to this whole boating thing. We just got Boat Guy I in January. We’ve learned a lot, which has only whetted our appetite to learn more. One thing we haven’t done yet is anchored out and I’m not ashamed to tell you that I have some anxiety about it. Will I be confident enough to sleep through the night, hoping that I wake up in roughly the same place I dropped the anchor the night before? So I spent some time at one of the vendor booths that had a great miniature anchoring model. I learned a ton! I’m still not sure I’ll sleep through the night, but I sure know a lot more and I’m far more confident than I was! At Trawler Fest they have a virtual “Trawler University” set up, with classes and seminars going on all weekend long. It’s truly valuable for beginners like Sam and me, and it looked like the old salts, with years of experience, were having fun as well.

There were amazing boats to board, many for sale, lot’s of seminars and a great party atmosphere to enjoy it all. People were super-friendly and the place had a true holiday-like feel all weekend. Sound fun? There’s a TrawlerFest Baltimore, September 25-27. You can register at, if you’re a Chesapeake Bay kind of person, as opposed to a Puget Sound kinda guy like me. Let’s not get into an argument about which is better, eh?

So, I’m still not sure I can give you a perfect definition of a trawler. But, after my weekend at TrawlerFest, I think, more than anything, it’s a state of mind that embraces really nice people. It’s a fun recognition that life afloat is far better than being stuck on the beach.