The smartest thing anybody can do when moving to Darien is put their name on the waiting list for a boating pass, according to Jim Batson, who said he was on the list for about 10 years before a spot finally opened up. He hasn't passed up a summer at the Darien Boat Club since.

"There's no requirements, everybody's real casual," Batson said of the club.

On a Friday morning earlier this month, the sun reflected off calm waters at the docks where Batson deflated a large tube fit to hold four.

"You know, I have had five on it," he said, saying he has three young children.

They left with their mom in a separate car while Batson packed up his boat, Sea Heaven.

More Information

Fact box

"We haven't put it on yet, but I've been calling it Sea Heaven," he said.

Batson said packing up his boat for the day can take up to half an hour. Part of this process is deflating the tube, which he finds well worth the pleasure that ensues.

But in addition to cruising around Long Island Sound, Batson said he takes his family to Ziegler's Cove. Sometimes they go fishing, too.

"If you take the kids out, you can catch these little fish called porgy, little silver fish," he said. "If you go out with the grown-ups, we catch the bigger ones, like bluefish and striped bass."

Fishing is primarily what Joe Lopiano said he does on his boat, which his kids named Semi Sweet.

"They used to eat chocolate morsels, you know, Nestle's," Lopiano said. "And they're semi-sweet."

But he said the fish are also a burden to the boat because the blood is difficult to clean off.

"That's the worst," he said. "The one thing that drives me crazy -- maybe it's just my personality -- I see marks on my boat, I've got to get it off. Not everybody's like that."

One of the last things Lopiano did before he finished packing up his boat was wrap the hose he used to spray off all the marks.

Vice Commodore Glen Osburge said, "Every time you come back, you wash it with fresh water."

Osburg did just that once he got back to the docks with some friends he took out for a ride.

He left the docks around the same time as Batson and Lopiano. All three of them went off to enjoy the rest of their days, looking forward to getting back into their boats another sunny day.

That's the easy part, Lopiano said. "Just take the covers off, make sure the motor's running and you're gone."; 203-972-4407;