The Story Behind The Name Three

How one man found his Bayliner

June 2024 Feature Reader Submission by Mike Gilly

Last Sunday would have been the 60th birthday of my late wife, Karen, who went by Ki Ki. In tribute to her and what she meant to me, I decided to write a little story. It probably would be best at this time to mention an article that was published in the Houseboat Magazine back in 2016 and is still available on its website. In that article I alluded to my late wife and named my houseboat for her, Ki Ki too.

Having a trailerable houseboat was a joy and a privilege, but it had some drawbacks. Having been placed it in saltwater for most of her waterborne life meant barnacles. I did haul out the houseboat when inclement weather such as hurricanes loomed. I would carry her up to the horse-farm a friend owned and cleaned her bottom hull/pontoons. However, being on a trailer limited my ability to clean the bottom thoroughly. Which meant moving her to a small repair facility and hoisting the houseboat out and placing it on land, blocked up to allow a total bottom job with antifoulant paint. This proved to be too much for this old man. So, the resolution was to sell her to someone who would love her and treat her as I did.

Finding PDB (And The Paddle)
The good folks at Harris Publishing who printed Houseboat Magazine for 30 years until 2020 was gracious enough to give me a copy of Pontoon & Deck Boat magazine when they discontinued printing the magazine. This aided my search for my next boat. I want to stop at this point and add this about both magazines. In Houseboat they used to hide an anchor for readers to try and find and in Pontoon & Deck Boat they still hide a paddle each month in one of the photos. While I was working on the restoration and repair of DDG-62, USS Fitzgerald in the local shipyard, I would pass the magazine to my office co-workers. It was a challenge for them to locate it, and it became some great fun and amusement during our lunch break about who would be the first to find it.

I searched the web as well as articles in PDB, but being surrounded by saltwater, an aluminum pontoon boat was not something that attracted me. However, the fiberglass deck boat seemed to me to be the way to go. I wanted something that was small, yet large enough to do some of the things I was accustomed to doing on my houseboat. I wanted a hard top or a Bimini top, and I wanted an outboard that would move me faster than 6 mph. I wanted it to be black in color to hide the river scum and brackish water that I would be boating in. I wanted walking room and something affordable. I need something that my truck could handle without having someone ride shotgun. My son, Derek, who has Down Syndrome, only went on the houseboat once and because it was too slow refused to ever go again. Derek does not make a good person to ride shotgun and he’s not much help. Most of the time we go for car rides he just sleeps!

Naming The Bayliner
After much investigation, I opted for the Bayliner M17. It has proved to be an exceptional choice for me and has also proved to be worthy to carry on my wife’s nick name, Ki Ki. But there is a problem! I couldn’t call her Ki Ki Three! That name just doesn’t have the sound and effect that the earlier named implied and I have applied that name to my kayak. So, I named my little black boat, Three. I look forward to many years of enjoyment using her on the Pascagoula and Escatawpa Rivers and trying to get to the barrier islands on calm and peaceful days.


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