BUCKEYE LAKE (Ohio) — It’s the day boaters have been waiting for all year — Memorial Day weekend kicks off their recreation season.
Local marinas are busier than ever, and safety is a top priority says Chris Alexander of Alexander’s Landing just a couple miles away from Buckeye Lake.
His family has been in business since the 1920s. He says the pandemic has changed everything. Life on the lake is now a pandemic pastime that’s keeping Alexander’s marina busy.
“New boaters all the time for the last year up until now,” he explained. ‘COVID has brought out more people than I can even, ever believed.”
Alexander says one day boats are in stock, the next day they are gone.
“Demand far outstrips supply right away — we can’t get enough boats so it’s been — I mean I can’t tell ya! We sell everything we can get.”
With Memorial Day weekend here he’s urging all customers to take extra care, especially the new ones.
ODNR says in 2019 the state recorded 13 boating fatalities. In 2020 that number doubled. The cause of most of those deaths were drownings.
“We find the life jackets floating in the lake alongside the boat — what they to be is, they need to be on you,” said Lieutenant Valerie Cox.
Even with rain moving in, Cox expects people to be out on the lake. She’s urging those first timers out there to think about boater education.
“We are starting to offer those classroom courses again we also have a home study option and about 4 or 5 online course providers,” she explained.
As for business, Alexander says he expects to be busy for the next two months. Not on the sales front but rather with repairs.
“People are dying to get their boats running so they can use them, and I can’t accommodate everyone. It’s sad in a way, you know.”
Lieutenant Cox is also warning people to layer up this weekend and watch out for the water temperatures. She says over the last week that water temp has been in the upper 50’s and low 60’s and you can still get hypothermia if you fall in.
Go here for information on boater education.