The Fourth of July is the vortex of fun in the summer. The weekend is extra-long, the kids are out of school, the sun feels warm, the bulk of rain is gone, fireworks explode in the sky, and best of all – the boating is great! This past month we have seen quite a bit of rain, to say the least. In fact, a few Thursdays ago 4.13 inches of rain fell at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. That happens to be the most rain ever recorded for a day in June. Despite the damage caused by the storms, hopefully you can find peace of mind knowing that being a valued member of Your Boat Club means that you don’t have to deal with any of the hassles that could have been brought upon you by owning your own boat. One thing we can all hope for is that all these June showers will bring July and August flowers. Here’s to a great couple of summer boating months ahead!
We are very thankful that most of our Members seem to “get it” and do such a fantastic job of making sure they are respectful of the other Members. But we wanted to send out a quick reminder to everyone about what our No Show and Late Cancellation policies were as we do plan to enforce them.
We can think of a hundred reasons not to own a boat. Reason #13: bad weather. Thunderstorms have been aplenty this past month. It seems as though they have hit us just about every weekend, putting a damper on our boating lives. We’ve experienced no-wake zones, flooded rivers, flooded parking lots, damaged docks, damaged boats, lost tubes, lost offices, closed bridges, you name it – we’ve seen it. With the exception of White Bear Lake’s need for water, this abundance of precipitation that has been dumped upon us has made it tough to boat. Wind speeds have actually flirted with 70 mile per hour gusts, making boating not only less fun for the family, but quite dangerous. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources urged swimmers and boaters to “think twice before heading out on the water right now.” As boating professionals, we at Your Boat Club would like to congratulate you members for making the very wise decision to join our club, as opposed to owning your own boat. Our staff has gone above and beyond this past month to help keep not only the club’s boats and members safe but private boat owners and other boaters as well. Below you will find more information and photos about the damages caused by storms at our locations.
LAKE MINNETONKA – SAILBOAT RACES GONE AWRY
A Lake Minnetonka sailboat regatta spiraled out of control the morning of Saturday, June 14th. Winds in excess of 50 mile per hour gusts caused nine sail boats to tip over. YBC Minnetonka manager Brian Maxey and his team helped law enforcement rescue the boats and sailors, bringing them to shore, using our gazebo as a rescue shelter. In addition to the rescue mission, our Minnetonka staff had to fix broken docks, park boats in different slips, retie private slip renters’ boats, and figure out parking alternatives as the parking lot became underwater. Aren’t you glad you do not have to worry about any of that?
PRIOR LAKE – SWIMMING/FISHING IN A PARKING LOT
Prior Lake was no exception to the storm damages. The rain prevented cars from parking in the lot. Members had to walk knee deep in water to even get to the boats. Tubes got loose and floated all around. Fish swam with the YBC truck. The dock was damaged. You name it; it happened. YBC manager Matt Padkopacs had to build additional pieces to the dock in order for members to even have access to the boats. At one point Matt actually drove a fishing boat through the parking lot.
FOREST LAKE – BOAT HOLES AND A FLOAT-AWAY OFFICE
Extremely high winds and whitecaps caused damage to the dock and to boats, including the YBC floating office on Forest Lake on June 19th. Dockhand Amber Anderson arrived to work early morning to witness the chain that was holding the office rip a hole right through the one of the toons. Quickly calling St. Croix manager Nathan Balzart to the rescue, Amber bravely jumped into the lake and held the heavy office through the terrorizing winds for roughly 45 minutes until Nathan arrived. Soon Forest Lake and White Bear Lake managers Kali Schmidt and Brian Wegner arrived to assist with the rescue.
Getting the damaged office onto shore was no easy task. “The waves were crashing up high over the dock with a great deal of power,” recalls Brian. “The water felt good at first and I actually said to Nathan, ‘this isn’t so bad.’” Nathan laughed and within minutes Brian realized how wrong he was. The winds contained so much force that Kali had to jump in to provide extra support and strength from the water.
Aside from a few boats that got a little banged up and a hole in one boat, the damage was contained. It is amazing what productivity can come out of a disaster area with the combination of determination and team work. Hopefully knowing that you, as members, do not have to worry about the safety of your own boat or deal with the hassles of repairing the damage will add some comfort to your minds, helping to realize one of the great benefits of being a YBC member.
ST. CROIX RIVER – AND A FLOODED TOWN
Those St. Croix-loving river rats have had to deal with something this year lasting much longer than any year in YBC’s history: no-wake. This spring and summer’s record rainfall has resulted in the St. Croix River being an entirely slow/no-wake zone. Speed demons who love the no-speed-limit on the river have had to keep their excitement in check thus far this season. New members who chose the St. Croix as their primary location have been doing their orientations on White Bear and Forest Lake. Tubers and skiers have been forced to venture out to other locations as well.
We cannot say for sure when the no-wake will be lifted. Unfortunately Mother Nature’s plan is out of our hands. YBC St. Croix manager Nathan Balzart says the downtown area got messy. “Stillwater had trash pumps trying to pump water back into the river,” Nathan says. “The lift bridge was being swallowed by the river. It was weighted down so they opened it a little for debris to get by.”
Though it is difficult to predict a timetable for when the river’s no-wake will lift, let’s all cross our fingers and hope July’s hot sun will allow the water to soak into the earth in good time. After all, you need to feed that crave of the beautiful banks of the state-bordering river.
You may be thinking to yourself, “boating with babies?!?” But on White Bear Lake at least, it seems to be the summer of first-time boaters, many of which are newborns. During these past two months, members new and old have been taking their little ones out boating. YBC manager Brian Wegner says he has seen more babies and first-time boaters in 2014 than in all previous years combined. “It’s great seeing all these babies in their little lifejackets out on the docks,” Brian says. “Every single one of them seems to enjoy it and they always come back in either smiling or sound asleep.”
Here in Minnesota boating is definitely the reason for the season during the summer months. So why not get your little ones started as soon as possible. After all, you just might need a captain one day and who better to return the favor than your very own offspring?
The orientations we conduct with each new member serve many purposes. Perhaps the most important one is in regards to boating safety. You can never be too safe out on the water. Sometimes you’re on an overcrowded lake, sometimes you’re bumping over whitecaps, sometimes you’re maneuvering your way around a sailboat race or a flock of kayakers. Knowing the rules of boating when you’re on the water in motion is extremely important to you, your family and other boaters’ safety. It never hurts to review these rules every once in a while. So please take a few minutes to read more about what to do to help keep everyone on the water safe in certain situations.
RULE #1: DEFENSIVE DRIVING
Perhaps the single most important rule of driving a boat is to DRIVE DEFENSIVELY. Every other rule comes back around to defensive driving. Whether you are passing another boat, meeting another boat head on or watching the landing of a seaplane, driving defensively is always your best method. Take a look out from the dock before you venture out. Notice how crowded the lake or river is. Know what kinds of boats are on the water. Take note of sailboat races, kayakers, swimming areas, nearby private and gas docks. Grasp a good idea of what to expect when you get out there. When you are out on the water keep your head on a swivel at all times.
RULE #2: NON-MOTORIZED CRAFT
Courtesy on the water is incredibly important when boating, especially in regard to non-motorized craft. Non-motorized craft ALWAYS have the right of way. This includes anchored boats, canoes, kayaks, sailboats, swimming areas, and fishing docks. Over the past few years stand-up paddling – or SUP – has become very popular. Though you should be courteous to every boater on the water, please be exceptionally careful when near any non-motorized craft.
RULE #3: PASSING
When passing another boat going in the same direction, the common rule is to maintain your course and speed. Keep a safe distance from the boat you are passing and do not speed up, slow down or make any quick turns. You never know what that other boat is going to do so keep your eye on it and give yourself plenty of space.
RULE #4: MEETING
When you are approaching another watercraft head on, the common rule is to veer to the right. Do not wait until you are close to the other boat to start veering right. As soon as you see a boat off in the distance and you realize you will be driving by each other, start veering. Always assume other boaters do not know this rule. If the other boat starts veering in the same direction, work with it and veer to the left. Basically, it goes back to defensive driving.
RULE #5: CROSSING
When approaching another watercraft at a right angle, it is the same as driving a car: the boat on the right has the right of way.
RULE #6: BUOYS
Always be aware of any buoys you see. Marker buoys are placed in certain areas to mark a hazard or to inform the boater of where to go and where not to go. Below is a diagram of important buoys to be aware of on a regular basis.
One thing that is incredibly important to us at YBC is that we get as many Members out on the water as often as we can. To this end, we cannot express the importance of working together to make sure we get the most out of our boat fleet. So we wanted to remind everyone to please make sure you don’t schedule a boat and then not show up or cancel at the last minute. We understand that things can sometimes come up and plans can change, especially due to weather. And we are very thankful that most of our Members seem to “get it” and do such a fantastic job of making sure they don’t unnecessarily book boats. But we have a few Members who seem to repeatedly book a boat and then don’t show up, or repeatedly cancel at the last minute when the weather is fine and it is then too late for anyone else to use the boat. We can’t have people booking boats just in case they want to use them. So we are introducing a new patch to the Reservation System that will automatically prevent a Member from a making future spontaneous reservations if the system shows a prior history of No Shows or late cancellations. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but if the system flags your account you will need to call the office at 612.208.1800.
We also want to remind all Members to please update your start times if you do not plan on using the entire time slot. That way we can potentially allow another Member to stay out on the water longer if they want to rather than having the boat sit empty on the dock. We understand that things like traffic and late starts can have you running behind. If that happens and you are going to be more than an hour late for a reservation please call the lake and let them know, or your boat may be released to another Member.
We trust everyone can see the benefits in working together to make sure we minimize no shows, late cancellations and late arrivals. It can only help make sure we get everyone out on the water as much as possible.
As always, we appreciate your business and look forward to being of service!