Vermont’s rainy summer means a tough season for boaters

Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 6:11 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont marinas, boat rentals and boating clubs have seen a decline in visitors over this soggy summer. Boaters say it’s been a very weird summer in terms of the weather and there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to get out on Lake Champlain.

Sunny days like Monday have been very few and far between.

“No, there hasn’t been a lot of opportunity. We are afternoon boaters. I would hope that next summer is better,” said Jed Dillon of Essex Junction.

Dillon is part of the Champlain Fleet Club and during the summer he likes to get out on the water.

He says it’s always relaxing to enjoy the lake on a sunny day but this summer hasn’t been so relaxing with very few boating days.

“I don’t feel that we have had a normal weather year, as far as summer weather. This is kind of the summer that hasn’t been for some people who rely on good weather to do things,” Dillon said.

It’s been rainy this summer for the state of Vermont, and with the recent flooding, Lake Champlain has received more than four billion gallons of water over the course of two months. With the rain, marinas like Champlain Marina are seeing fewer tourists, people and boats leaving the docks.

“The boating traffic has certainly been a little bit less than normal. It’s more than just the actual weather that’s going on, it’s the weather that’s forecasted. People base their plans on what the weather is actually looking like,” said Peter Farrell of Champlain Marina.

And clubs like the Champlain Fleet Club are seeing fewer of their members taking their 25 boats out for a cruise.

“We have had an increase in membership and probably less usage per boat on average because of weather. Last year was an incredible year, had a lot of good boating days. Probably this year a little less,” said Philip Scott of the Champlain Fleet Club.

Businesses like Sail Vermont are also seeing a decline, but they add that rainy days aren’t as bad for the sails.

“Believe it or not, the sailing is better when you get wet weather. Sunny days tend to bring sort of flat calm water like this. But when we get some rain, we actually get lots of wind too,” said Daniel McGill of Sail Vermont.

For the remainder of the summer, boaters say they will be taking full advantage of the sunny days they have left.