Wayne Dewyer: Professional beach bum, and loving it. 

September 12, 2022

Wayne Dewyer: Professional beach bum, and loving it. 

Grown Locally is presented by House of Flavors Restaurant of Ludington and features local entrepreneurs and businesses. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SOMEWHERE IN PERE MARQUETTE LAKE — Wayne Dewyer, 58, lives life on his own terms. A native of Ludington, which serves as his home base, each year Wayne finagles a new mode of transportation — which also typically doubles as his home — and takes off on an adventure in the fall. This year, Wayne purchased a 17-foot fishing boat for about $1,500 in the spring and has been using it as his home. Later this week, he plans to begin his route to spend the winter in Key West. His journey, in many ways, will be a modern-day adventure like those experienced by author Mark Twain’s characters Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. 

“I’m a bum and I’m OK with that,” Wayne says laughing. “I’m living my life the way I want to and having a blast doing it.” 

Wayne has been mooring his boat this summer in a secluded part of Pere Marquette Lake. He sleeps on the boat most of the time, using a tarp to give him shelter. During inclement weather, he pitches a tent on shore. He tries to be as self-sufficient as possible, usually catching fish for his protein and supplementing with bread, rice and a cold beer. 

“I’ll usually catch enough fish to last a few days, keeping it in the cooler,” he says. “I use a small single burner gas camping stove to cook most of my meals.” 

During the summer Wayne works at Provisions Sports in downtown Ludington and picks up some other odd jobs. When he reaches his destination he will find seasonal work there. 

“I’ve got a job lined up on the catamaran tours in Key West,” Wayne says. “They work long shifts so I only want to work three days a week.” 

To also supplement his income, Wayne documents his adventures and posts them on his YouTube channel, The Wayne Diaries. Wayne’s YouTube channel currently has 1,300 followers. He had previously operated a different channel for several years, which had several thousands of followers. That channel got hacked, resulting in him having to start over three years ago. 

Wayne’s adventures started 15 years ago, when in September 2007, Wayne and Ryan Quick, also of Ludington, left their home port in a 28-foot sloop called The Wanderer and ventured south. 

“I had been working at West Shore Community College’s Recreation Center and my job got eliminated,” Wayne says. “The college offered me a custodian job or two years of unemployment. While I respect the hard work of the custodians, it just wasn’t for me. I took the unemployment and decided to have some adventure in my life.” 

Wayne says when he was a kid he always dreamed about living a life of adventure.

Since the original sailboat trip, Wayne has had a variety of adventures. He’s converted a couple old school buses, driving one to California and another to Florida. He has sailed a sailboat and a power boat down the Mississippi River. He and his adult daughter, sailed to Florida. He has also had some adventures with a motorcycle as well, traveling to Maine. 

Wayne has two adult children who both grew up in the Upper Peninsula, where Wayne once lived as well. His daughter, Danielle, who works as a traveling nurse, is currently in upstate New York but plans to take on a new assignment in St. Petersburg, Fla. in the near future. 

“Danielle loves the adventure, probably more than I do,” Wayne says. Ethan lives in North Carolina and isn’t quite as adventurous, Wayne says. “He enjoys his career as a real estate agent and I respect that.” 

For the latest adventure, Wayne will leave Ludington later this week and then moor in Pentwater for a few days. He’ll make his way to Grand Haven, Hammond, Indiana and then will travel the Chicago River to the Mississippi River. He’ll take the Mississippi about 250 miles south to the Tennessee River and then to the Tombigbee River, traveling through a part of the state of Mississippi and then Alabama down to Mobile. From Mobile he will reach the Intracoastal Waterway where he will travel along the Gulf of Mexico and down to Key West, where he expects to arrive in late November. 

“There’s just something about the vibe of Key West,” Wayne says. “It’s very similar to Ludington. I don’t do the tourist thing and there’s so much more to the culture and community than what your average tourist sees. Everyone down there is just relaxed and easy-going. It’s an island and everything there is centered around the water.” 

Wayne says traveling south by boat is pretty common. “The people who do this are called ‘loopers’ because they typically leave the Great Lakes in the fall, travel south like I’m doing and then, in the spring make their way up the East Coast and back to the Great Lakes — making a loop. I’m probably a little unique because I’m doing it in a 17-foot boat and not a yacht, like most. But, everyone’s pretty cool to me and it’s a great conversation starter. I’ve met some great people doing this before.” 

Wayne will typically sell his vehicle in the spring and then make his way back north. He says next year he plans to obtain his 100-ton captain’s license, which will give him some more options to pick up work. 

“I’m not afraid to work,” he says. “I actually enjoy working. But, I also love living a life that gives me flexibility and freedom. It’s not for everybody and many people don’t understand it. I have found that a majority of people are supportive. As far as the rest, well, I don’t really care what they think.” 

If you’d like to support Wayne’s adventure, you may also send him a “tip” through his YouTube Channel, The Wayne Diaries.

If you would like to make a suggestion for a local entrepreneur or locally owned  business, service or product to be featured on Mason County Press, please send an email to Rob Alway, editor-in-chief: editor@masoncountypress.com.

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