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A Boater's Perspective

I’d like to share some insights as a boater of the Thousand Islands. I’m not talking about day boaters or island hoppers, but rather the weekend warriors or summer stay-aboard boaters. The true “nomads of the river” if you will.

It was exactly 25 years ago when we bought our first boat. It was a 26’ express cruiser. We took it everywhere. It was on one such journey we were re-introduced to the Thousand Islands, this time as a boater. It was a trip in the summer of 1993 that would change our lives forever.

My wife and I, three kids and the dog all crammed into this boat we would call home, well at least for the weekends. Duffle bags full of clothes, diapers, formula, toys, etc. were crammed into every available space we had on that boat. People would stare as we unloaded the station wagon with every conceivable thing you could imagine to keep kids happy and my wife and I content. As I’m loading this boat and the waterline inching lower and lower into the water, I hear someone say, “man you really cram a lot of stuff in there”, hence the name of our boat that will follow us to this day, Cram-A-Lot Inn.

We would keep this trusty beast for 2 more years when an opportunity came to buy something a little bigger. A 30’ fly bridge would be our new vacation home for the next 18 years and yes the name of the boat stayed the same. It was a much needed upgrade to keep our sanity, especially on longer weekends and journeys. Everybody had a little space to call their own, well kind of. Compared to our previous boat, this was the Carnival Cruise Line!

We usually travel in packs with other river nomads from our marina going from one state park to the next. Whether it’s a Canadian park or New York State park, it makes no difference. We show up on the dock and start unloading like carnival workers getting ready for the state fair. Anything that you could imagine that would make life a little better during our brief stay would be unloaded. Chairs, BBQ’s, tables, umbrellas, water toys, you name it we got it! And when the weekend is over, everything is loaded back on with the same precision as it was taken off. Our area of the park is then cleaned to the same if not better condition than when we arrived. This place we call home, if not only for a brief time, is treated with the utmost respect it deserves and we take none of it for granted.

People ask what exactly we do during the weekends at “the boat”. I reply with, we eat a little, we drink a little, we swim a little, we play a little, we sleep a little and when we are done we start all over again. I usually get a response of “really that’s all, and you do this every weekend from May until October?” They don’t need to understand, because we do. Being able to do this in one of the most beautiful places on earth is just the frosting on the cake.

As my kids grew older and left to start making lives of their own, the boat would slowly get bigger. Other than guests and grandchildren every now and then, it would only be my wife and I, and oh don’t let me forget the 2 dogs. The boat now is as big as it has ever been. A perfect size for 2 people traveling the river on weekends or short vacations.

As my wife and I near retirement it may be time to say goodbye to the Cram-A-Lot Inn. Our next boat will have to be large enough for us to actually live aboard for our six months in the islands. The other six months will be looking for warmer weather in the southern part of the country.

I was asked if we would keep the same name for our next boat. After much discussion and name searching the answer was in front of our noses the whole time, “RIVERVIEW”.  After all, it is our favorite pastime!

By Tim Kocher

Tim Kocher and his wife, Pam, are enthusiastic mariners from N Syracuse, NY. He has worked in the transportation industry for 32 years. He has also held positions as president and fire chief for his local fire department which he was a member for 20 years. He is currently enrolled at Syracuse University working on bachelors degree in Information Management. Nearing retirement, Tim is starting to pursue his real passion which is photography. He does this under the name Riverview Photography and can be found at

  • Thousand Islands Bridge. Photo ©

    Thousand Islands Bridge. Photo ©

  • Keewaydin Sunset, by Tim Kocher. Photo ©

    Keewaydin Sunset, by Tim Kocher. Photo ©

  • Grenadier Island's central dock is a favorite for Canadian & US boaters. Photo © riverviewpictures

    Grenadier Island's central dock is a favorite for Canadian & US boaters. Photo © riverviewpictures

  • Docked at Sto1vin Islands in the Brock Group.  Photo ©

    Docked at Sto1vin Islands in the Brock Group. Photo ©

  • Crysler Park Marina - Morrisburg, Ontario. Photo ©

    Crysler Park Marina - Morrisburg, Ontario. Photo ©


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Pat Trout
Comment by: Pat Trout ( )
Left at: 9:26 PM Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tim, what a lovely article. I always wondered why the name, "Cram-A lot-Inn and loved the explanation. You manage to convey a love of the area and yet convey a feeling of gratitude and respect for where you get to spend time. It really is one, if not the most, beautiful areas on earth. My husband I love your photos and we certainly enjoyed this article. Next, you MUST do some photos of all of our favorite places, Keewaydin State Park in Alexandria Bay, NY. Keep your dreams and you'll get there in just a few short years.
George Ornt
Comment by: George Ornt ( )
Left at: 11:16 PM Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Hello Tim!

Having spent some time in Thousand Islands I agree it is a really great and interesting place for summer recreation and boating. My most enjoyable take from reading your post was the verbal picture you created of your wife and kids traveling, exploring and spending wholesome time together as a family unit, your children will never forget the good times you have given them and hopefully continue on their own. Good luck on your retirement, you chose a fine place for the summer months.