HARRISON TOWNSHIP (WWJ) — Boating is back. After a slowdown in line with the slumping economy, the boating business is on the rebound.
Steve Remias, president of MacRay Harbor in Harrison Township on Anchor Bay in Lake St. Clair, said that boaters have adapted to the “new economy,” using smaller, more fuel-efficient boats to get out for a swim and some fun on the lake, and leaving thirstier, big cruising boats tied up at the dock.
“It’s changed a little bit, but I think the demographics are still here,” Remias said. “Day boating, which is spending days out on the local lakes with the family, has taken off. You can see here at MacRay with the amount of people, now, that have two boats here.”
Remias said the difference is a lot of people are not “cruisers” anymore.
“Day boats can be anything from center consoles to pontoon boats, to go-fast fishing boats, aluminum products — they’re off the charts as far as sales this year,” Remias said.
Remias said the “day boater” goes out on the lake, anchors and enjoys just being out there, swimming and playing on sandbars.
“On any given weekend you’ll see hundreds of boats out there just anchored in reasonable-depth water — a couple, or three or four feet — playing in the water and enjoying life,” Remias said.
Like many of the marinas in Michigan, MacRay Harbor was forced to weather the fall in the economy and saw a downturn in business.
“I think a lot of the marinas, including us, probably got to 50 to 65 percent full,” Remias said. “I’m happy to say that in talking to all marinas that I know — the larger ones on the lakes and the rivers — we’re all at about at least 95 percent. Some are saying they’re full with waiting lists.”