Local lakes seeing boat rental growth, marina manager attributes warm, dry weather

Local News

LAKE MILTON, Ohio (WKBN) – The marinas at Lake Milton and West Branch State Park set records over the Fourth of July. More people are renting boats and doing so without the hassles of of owning one.

There’s nothing like being on the water during a hot day. Boating is booming at West Branch State Park and at Lake Milton.

The marinas are seeing all boats rented on the weekends and many during the week.

“It’s tough at times when you’re talking about two locations. Sixty plus boats trying to maintain and keep up and running all the time, but it’s better to be busy than not busy,” said Zack Tasker, marina manager.

The marinas bought seven new boats this year and added four last year.

Pontoons are the most popular, followed by jet skis.

Renters have to be 18, have a boater’s license or driver’s license and pass a written boating safety exam.

“Today, it’s everybody. We go from having a group of 20-year-olds out on the boat to a group of 70-year-olds out there enjoying lunch or something on the water. It’s a really diverse group of people that rent anymore,” Tasker said.

On Wednesday, people were out enjoying the day on pontoons, speedboats, jet skis and some who were out just floating on the water.

Tasker recommends reserving boats as early as possible. The weekends book up two weeks in advance.

“I can see the demand of business sticking around for awhile. I really do. Once people get out here and see what the park is about, see what boating is about, how much fun it is, people turn into regular customers,” he said.

The marinas have a boating club for repeat renters. A good year was having 10 people in the club, this year it’s approaching 90.

“Our kids were so busy this year that we decided, instead of a family vacation, we just decided to join this boat club and try to get out seven or eight times,” said Jason Reed of Munroe Falls.

Tasker credits the weather of the last two years being warm and dry as a reason for the growth. He says it’s not all pandemic-related.

He also reminds that both lakes are dry. You can’t bring alcohol on the water.

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