Richard L. Withington retired from his orthopedic surgery practice but keeps busy in retirement by working on the St. Lawrence River near his home, named Rivercroft, on Round Island, also known as Frontenac Island, just outside of Clayton, N.Y. He shares some of his tales of life on the river in the 1000 Islands Life magazine (www.ThousandIslandsLife.com). He is captain of the Clayton Volunteer Fire Department fireboat and was instrumental in getting grant funding for the boat to provide emergency coverage for the islanders. Dick’s older son, DeWitt, is a pilot who guides sea-going vessels through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Daughter Marcy is CFO of Mystic Seaport. Son Matthew does sports psychology in Orlando. Below is an excerpt from Dick’s 1000 Islands Life magazine article titled “What does being a boater mean to you?”
There are many similarities between being a surgeon and a captain of a vessel, one of which is that neither should just “jump into the situation and zoom to the destination.” As a licensed captain, you become more aware of your responsibility for the comfort and safety of those aboard. You are responsible for the welfare of your passengers and you must use your skill and experience to ensure, to the best of your ability, that they and your crew have a safe-and-pleasant journey.
As with surgery, I will never know all there is to know about boating. Surgery gave me a lifetime of memories and experiences. Boating does the same. Salvage work on Lake Ontario, ship-assist docking in Ogdensburg, transporting heavy equipment, driving boat tours for the Antique Boat Museum – all add, daily, to the thrill of something being newly accomplished and the learning process never stops.
I have discovered that being a “boater” doesn’t mean the same to everyone. To me it is part of my being. I feel a kinship to those before me who loved, braved, and sometimes cursed the sea. I appreciate those who taught me to be a boater,..... and those who showed me why I should. For each of us on the River there is something in boating. In searching for it, you may just find yourself.
To read all of Dick’s entries, follow these links: