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Unusual steps get boating season started on Lake Champlain - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Unusual steps get boating season started on Lake Champlain

Shelburne, Vermont - June 8, 2011

The 45-foot excursion boat called the Escape has not been able to escape the dry dock at the Shelburne Shipyard this season.

"The flooding has put our docks underwater that we launch from and it's also caused damage to our launch road that we drive over to launch vehicles," said Bruce Hartshorn of the Shelburne Shipyard.

Having the boat out of action has cost its owner-- the Basin Harbor Club-- about a month's worth of business.

"So the hardship that we've experienced is that we're just trying to overcome our short season," said Bruce Beach of the Basin Harbor Club. "We're only open from early May to mid-October. So we've now lost 20 percent of our season."

Not wanting to lose any more, the club decided to contract for use of the state's largest crane to lift the 33-ton boat from the shore into the lake. It was not an easy process. The 100-foot crane had to swing the ship over a stand of trees before lowering it into the water.

"So we've proceeded forward and hope that this is the start of a great boating season for us," Beach said.

While Basin Harbor's excursion boat is now ready to set sail many other boats remain on dry land. The Shelburne Shipyard and many other marinas been unable to offer full services because of the high water.

"At the end of this week, we'll behind by about 300 boats from where we would traditionally be this time of year," Hartshorn said.

But with this stretch of dry weather, the shipyard hopes to have its operations in full gear by this weekend and have the empty slips filled with boats once again.

The Shelburne Shipyard says it has experienced significant lost revenue from its dock services and fuel sales. But they have had an increase in boat maintenance work as owners take advantage of the downtime to get their boats in tip top shape.

Roger Garrity - WCAX News

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