Almost every Friday evening Amanda Gardner’s friends are treated to a Facebook photo of her and her husband, Don, in one of their boats. No couple enjoys their Cape Coral, Fla.-based boating life more—and they work hard for it. Amanda Gardner is a top account manager for a national staffing agency. Don Gardener is an aerospace engineer. Work-weeks of 60-plus hours are not uncommon for them. To make life even more interesting for Amanda she’s a Fort Myers Offshore board member and they’re currently in the midst of repowering a 36-foot Skater catamaran they bought earlier this year. But, as in everything the 38-year-old does, she embraces her role with energy and passion. There’s simply no better representative of the joy of boating in Southwest Florida than Amanda Gardner.
Amanda Gardner and her husband, Don, are in the middle yet another catamaran restoration project.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO BOATING?
Even though I’m originally from Tennessee, I’ve spent most of my life in Florida and I love fishing. When Don and I met 15 years ago, our first date was on a boat so I brought fishing poles and beers (laughs). He had a Formula 382 FAS3Tech at the time and he said, “Uh, we don’t have rodholders.”
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY ON THE WATER.
Friday is more of our “idle day” on the river or canals. We just idle around for a couple of hours after work to let off stress. It’s more a local thing for us. On Saturdays, we typically head out into the Gulf of Mexico and go somewhere for lunch. Saturdays are either for going out with friends or testing. We constantly test (laughs). Sometimes on Friday we just watch the craziness at the launch ramp next to our home. That’s always entertaining.
MOST OF YOUR FACEBOOK PHOTOS HAVE DON DRIVING. DO YOU EVER GET BEHIND THE WHEEL?
Oh yeah, absolutely. From the first time we went boating together Don wanted to make sure I could drive the boat if something happened to him. I think the first poker run I drove myself was Jacksonville in 2010 or 2011. That was back when we had our first Motion catamaran. We had two before our Doug Wrights.
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