Boat-buying pandemic fuels parking drought on Twin Cities lakes – WCCO

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Memorial Day weekend is always a busy time on Minnesota’s waterways, even when it’s a little chilly outside.

But once the pandemic is over, a space to park your boat on a lake is almost impossible to find in the metro.

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Ellsa Ohmann is Office Manager at Bayport Marina Association, just south of Stillwater on the St. Croix River.

“The slips are so requested that we receive at least two or three calls every day [saying], “Do you have an open card? Do you have an open file? Ohmann said.

All 200 of their boat slips are sold out for the summer, with a growing wait list.

“Our waiting list right now is, I think, over 100 people,” Ohmann said.

It’s the same story across the metro, according to Jimmy Mase, owner of In Towne Marina on Lake Waconia.

“We have 90 slides, then we had 20 mooring buoys that we put pontoons and sailboats here, so 110 families keep their boats with us,” Mase said.

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(credit: CBS)

All 110 of their slips are also sold out.

“The waiting list really varies, but it’s over 100, I mean, it’s probably more than that,” he says.

The family marina has been located on Lake Waconia for 40 years and the demand for dock space has never been higher.

“It started last year and then continued this year because everyone woke up in the fall, and I had my best rates of return,” Mase said.

He believes the pandemic caused people to buy their first boat, just for a reason to get out of their homes safely.

“We’re seeing new people who’ve never backed a boat up in the lake before, so it’s new, and we’re helping people with that and other things, too,” Mase said.
His best advice for those who want to buy a boat?

“Get on the waiting list now,” Mase said. “Don’t wait until you are ready to receive the slip, because if you have the slightest interest, it will probably take a few years, no matter where you go in the metro area right now.”

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While most seasonal slips are already sold out, there are still plenty of temporary slips available on rivers and lakes in Minnesota. You can get a temporary stay for the night or the weekend.



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