Jim was born in Orange, New Jersey, the second of eleven children of William and Alice Boyce. His father was an electronics pioneer, and ran Boland & Boyce, a technical writers’ job shop. His parents bought and sold houses, moving around a lot, even as the family grew. They spent many years in shore towns where he learned to love the water and boating.
Early teenage years were spent in Mountain Lakes, NJ where he went to High School. He had a tremendous interest in cars during this time, taking them apart, fixing and modifying them. He also worked for a time in a body shop to learn about car finishes. He never liked school work and he left at age at 17 to join the US Coast Guard, where he received his GED.
Serving in New London, Connecticut, he learned the hard way that he couldn’t keep up the old high school social life. His last two years of active duty were served in Woods Hole, MA on the buoy tender White Sage in Woods Hole where he thrived in his duties as bosun mate – and fell in love with Woods Hole and its surrounding waters.