Questioning The Usual

When I looked outside this morning, I noticed something out of the ordinary. There was a grey (or gray) boat in the marina. The fact that this stood out as unusual caused me to wonder why most yachts are white.

It had not occurred to me before, but virtually all the vessels that are docked here are white on top and many are entirely white.

This led me to wonder why they are usually white and why this particular one was grey. It turns out there are some very practical reasons for painting a yacht (or any boat) white:

“Besides being the most cost-effective and forgiving (white ultimately shows less scuffs and “dock rash” – not to mention bird doo), white boats are always more visible to other boaters on the water at any time of day.

Plus, there’s a reason why cruise ships are white and it’s not just to be sleek in foreign ports. The brilliant finish reflects the sun’s blazing hot rays and keeps the decks and interior cooler and more efficient in tropical climates. The same is true for smaller vessels. In the United States, the farther south you go, the lighter hull hues tend to be. Likewise, in the north, navy and maroon hulls are more frequent as extreme heat is less of a factor.”

That makes sense. So, why am I looking at a grey boat? When I looked online for information, I discovered that US naval vessels are usually grey and that this marine enamel paint is called Haze Gray. In WWII there was an expression “Haze Gray and Underway.” If this boat was once a US Navy vessel, it is no longer American as it is flying the Canadian flag.

In looking for information about grey boats, I came across this model of a US Navy Swift boat, which looks a lot like the one in Nanaimo marina. (Source: “Swift Boats, were all-aluminum, 50-foot (15 m) long, shallow-draft vessels operated by the United States Navy, initially to patrol the coastal areas and later for work in the interior waterways as part of the brown-water navy to interdict Vietcong movement of arms and munitions, transport South Vietnamese forces and insert SEAL teams for counterinsurgency (COIN) operations during the Vietnam War.” Wikipedia.

The grey vessel I am looking at may be a newer version of the Swift Boat, and it may or may not be a naval vessel, but it if it is trying to look inconspicuous, it is failing miserably.


  1. It is the nautical equivalent of the black UN helicopters that are coming to take our guns. And our FREEDOM! Get your masks on and stay socially distanced while we await Trudeau’s communist jackboot overlords.

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