While some marinas shut down during the winter months, we shorten our hours but remain open. Staff here are never layed off, we work a full 12 months.
Boats still sell in the winter...sold one a few days ago. Marina infastructure still needs attention...the lakeside is close to being finished but our new highway 28 showroom still has a list of work. Now is also the time when we replenish stock. The restaurant is closed and has now become an extension of our office - excuse the paperwork and boxes of new stock everywhere - it needs to be entered into our system still.
Our winter work is 'catch up' on projects that summer does not allow time for. We book in clients who have boats that require work, work that is not so urgent that they are willing to give up the boat for a period of time in the summer to get it done. Work such as replacing a floor that has rotted, upholstery that has holes or is badly damaged and just needs replacing. Pulling out moldy carpet and replacing with carpet or vinyl.
Fall work is finished now. All but the few that still need shrinkwrapping. Fall was the time for work on the hull of boats. Hull washes and in many cases, waxing to bring life back into the dull finish of the boat. Waxing takes many hours so it is an expense but important to do every few years to maintain the boat. The before/after is significant.
For those curious...there is no snow on the ground but it's damp, cold and wet. The lake is still very much water, we have no signs of ice. We understand that lakes north of us are already frozen over but we all know Anstruther is the last to freeze/last to thaw. We have filled the visitor's parking and much of the back lot parking with shrinkwrapped boats for the winter season.
Winter parking passes for the season are not yet ready but will be soon. If you are coming up during the winter, daily parking is $8 or have a 2018 winter seasonal parking pass displayed. Please come to the office to pick up your seasonal pass or to purchase your daily pass.
The docks will be disengaged today.
We first disengaged the boat docks (formerly the boathouses) in the fall a few years ago. As we all know, the marina is located in a vulnerable part of the lake and each spring we are at risk for ice damage. Every year, ramps that were connected to shore were damaged/crushed as small movements of the boathouses happened when the ice moved. This damage meant there was a cost in labour and material to repair them at a point that we were pressed for time in the spring launch.
We began disengaging the boat docks in an effort to remove the pressure put on the ramps/minimize damage. The boathouses were then 'free' to shift around with the moving ice. This change helped a lot. It has minimized our damage meaning that rather than assigning staff to significant and numerous repairs, we were able to move forward with opening the season.
A reminder that will come several more times before the spring...beginning in the spring of 2018, slips will not be available for use until 2 weeks after the day the ice is gone.
Most cottagers probably don't know the logistics behind opening for the season, and shouldn't have to but it might help to better understand 'Why 2 weeks?'...
Safety. Might seem like a long time but like our clients, our staff have 2 days off each week so in a 2 week period, it's 4 inactive days and of the 11 work days - we can count on at least 5 being 'not safe to work on the water' due to weather conditions (rain!). We also never know how significant our damage is going to be, one year we lost an entire boathouse meaning it took longer to for us to 'open' the boat docks for use. We know everyone wants to get to their cottage asap, there is significant pressure from cottagers each spring for use of their boat and slip 'the day we lose the ice' or asap thereafter, however, we cannot allow this until repairs have been done. In addition to repairs, the barge and fuel docks have to be re-engaged and the boat slips have been re-engaged to shore. We want to do what we can to ensure you get to your cottage but we have to balance that out with safety and what's realistically possible. So, two weeks after we lose the ice is when slips may be used.
This is a new policy and it is an absolute firm policy - No exceptions to the two week period - Please don't call to ask for an exception. There will be no early/temporary use on the barge dock either, that space is needed for the marina. This is about safety, not to keep you from your cottage. Anyone that cannot wait still has the option to launch/remove at the public launch during that 2 week period.
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