In Mark 4, Mark belabors the point that Jesus is teaching from a boat which is in the water which is facing the land which is where the people are listening to Jesus who is in the boat in the water telling parables to the people. Mark, who is normally known more for brevity, makes a big deal about the setting.
To “parable” — if we make it verb — is a nautical term meaning literally to throw out a sounding device, to measure depth (e.g. Acts 20:15). And of course that is precisely what the parables of Jesus are for, sounding the depth of the people. And the first parable recorded has everything to do with how deep their soil is, how deep the seed of the word is allowed to sink in and grow to produce fruit.
And it’s hardly irrelevant that Jesus began his ministry calling disciples to help him fish for men. This is what it looks like. Fishing for men looks like telling stories, confusing some and intriguing others.