Boating boom: Marinas enjoy an explosion in boating’s popularity

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:05 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Labor Day is typically when the boating season starts to slow down. But with more local boaters and a booming season, they could have more boats on the water for longer.

“Surprisingly busy,” said Josh Senning of Dock Master Moorings Marina.

Although it’s Labor Day, they’re not done yet. That’s because many of their boaters are locals.

Moorings Marina doesn’t typically get a lot of traffic from Canada, so they had a busy season.

“About 10% of our slips were Canadians, and so it wasn’t very hard to fill those slips up with local people. In fact, we filled up faster this year than we ever have,” Senning said.

Outdoor recreation has been a way for many people to stay healthy and keep busy throughout the pandemic.

The Champlain Fleet Club, a membership boaters club, says they’ve been in business for three years and the last two have been booming.

“We basically doubled the size of our number of boats, and more than doubled our membership base. Then coming into 2021m we doubled again,” said Philip Scott of the Champlain Fleet Club.

The club has 19 boats in three different marinas in Vermont. Members get access to all of the boats year-round. They say it’s a more convenient way to go boating in the Northeast.

“The concept really appeals in this market, especially because it’s a short season; people don’t want to hassle with winterizing and doing all the work that’s necessary to own a boat,” Scott said.

But Champlain Fleet Club says it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

“Sometimes getting those boats has been difficult. I’ve had to go as far away as Georgia and North Carolina to buy boats and have them shipped up here,” Scott said.

Some delays in shipments have been anywhere from 6-7 months.

Overall, these local boating businesses say it’s been a good season. As long as the new boaters keep the enthusiasm up, they say they can expect another good season next year, as well.

They want boaters in the area to know that they’ll be open for about another month.

“If Mother Nature says that it’s going to be a nice evening or nice day out on the lake, you’ll see people still using their boats,” said Kyle Bostwick of the Ferry Dock Marina.

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