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Man seeks burial in beloved “century-old” vessel when he dies

FORT WALTON BEACH, Florida—Ask any boater and they will tell you a life on the water is one of the most freeing parts of their day, weekend, month and so on. If a life on the water makes such an impact, it would only make sense that sailing would be the preferred way to spend the afterlife as well. That leads into a story about an 85-year-old man, Jim Tucker, from Florida’s Panhandle who plans to be sealed into his boat when he dies.

Some may question what’s the big deal about a man who would like to turn his boat into a tomb when he dies? The answer is that this practice is somewhat of a gray area legally. Tucker spent $800 seeking legal counsel so that he can spend eternity with his boat, which he found out there is no state or federal law against. From his findings, he does not believe there will be action taken against his choice of final resting place.

In 2018, The Log published articles about boat coffins and underwater mausoleums. Tucker’s boat, on the other hand, has much historical significance. The Boat, as it is known, was built as an Army transport vessel in 1921. In the late 20s, The Boat ferried bananas from Venezuela. After a brief return to military service during WWII, The Boat eventually because a floating restaurant in Wilmington, North Carolina and Tampa, then finally known as The Showboat when it was purchased by waterfront developer A.P. Qualls in 1974. Several years later, Tucker bought The Boat.

Tucker himself is not the religious type, though. For him, it will just be about the memories, the love for his vessel and the desire to go down with it when, in approximately 1,000 years Tucker predicts, the ship will crumble to the bottom of the ocean’s floor where it’s moored. When he dies, Tucker plans to leave the boat to his daughter, who will be in charge of his funeral arrangements.

“I have been one lucky son of a b—-,” Tucker told Panama City News Herald. “I have never enjoyed life more than I enjoy life right now. I wake up, I don’t wear a watch. … I don’t have any worries about an afterlife.”

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