Island couple’s 214LR Stingray brings family and friends together
Judy and Gary Houston’s 2018 214LR Stingray bears no official name, but the Galveston couple hung a flag proclaiming it, “Magic Boat,” along with a slogan, “It makes money disappear.”
The Houstons are under no illusions about their boat, the first they’ve owned since one they brought to the area in 1978 — its main purpose is to draw their grandchildren to the island, Gary said.
“Living in Galveston, a boat is a really nice benefit,” he said. “There’s a lot to see and do. It’s a great alternative form of entertainment and gives you something to do with your friends and family. There’s a lot of camaraderie among boaters down here.”
The Houstons’ new Stingray, which they purchased in March, is the latest step in their island retirement plan, they said.
They first moved to Houston in 1978 for work, and purchased their first Galveston getaway home in Indian Beach in 2008. They sold that one and bought a home in Galveston’s West End island neighborhood Evia in April 2015.
Now full-time island residents, the Houstons decided to pursue the next part of their plan — a boat.
“We went and looked at a lot, trying to figure out what we wanted,” Gary said. “We ultimately decided we wanted something more to take out for the day and enjoy. We aren’t into fishing just yet, maybe when the grandkids are older, but we can do that in this boat just fine.”
The couple eventually found the 2018 model they purchased at a Kemah dealership, Gary said. The boat is 22 feet long with a 200 horsepower engine and can seat up to 11 people.
“It’s a glorified ski boat or day cruiser,” he said.
A major selling point for the specific model is the outboard engine, which is easier to maintain in a saltwater environment, he said.
The boat features an onboard restroom. And the Houstons also paid to have two holes drilled into the boat to serve as a resting place for fishing rods, should a grandchild one day take up fishing, Judy said.
Al Fink founded Stingray Boats in 1979 with two molds, according to the company’s website. Since then, the South Carolina-based boat manufacturer has grown to include 23 models.
Ever since the Houstons purchased their Stingray in March, it has proven to be a huge hit both with the family, neighbors and friends, Judy said.
“We wanted it as big as it is so it could seat the whole family,” she said. “We love inviting friends over to go on the boat. We’ve done that a lot this summer.”
Their adult sons and their growing number of grandchildren love to visit, the Houstons said.
The Houstons thus far have taken the boat out to Offatts Bayou and Lake Madeline in Galveston, among other nearby locations, they said.
One day soon they hope to cruise up to Kemah and, perhaps, venture over to Bolivar Peninsula, Gary said.