10 Ideas On How To Help Our Local Marina’s.

They have been there for you

I have been racking my brain to try and figure out how to help our local marina’s stay healthy during this ship wreck. This is the their peak time, and Marina’s are not huge profit centers. So there isn’t a lot of financial cushion there. Especially the smaller ones. Most of the smaller Marinas are family owned and passion owned.

Marina magic

And we can imagine that over the next couple weeks, all recreational boating will be stopped. Many states are doing it already. Is it about old wood boats rumbling around? I doubt it. We are so under the radar of social gathering. And I know we see the world of boating though our little filter. But boating is huge, and with a great economy and low fuel prices was due for a whopper year. So guess what? Marina’s and boat retailers stocked up.. Bigtime. We just had a new Boston Whaler store open up near us here. OUCH.

Drive up service?

So, here is the question of the day. How can we help our small family owned marinas? The ones that provide fuel and smiles. The ones that come drag us home, keep us fed,  keep us serviced and ready, that store our boats over the winter. And get them ready for the summer. Yes, I know some marinas don’t want old wood boats. But many do, and share our passion.

Don’t go visit your loved ones. Let them work on them in a clean work area.

To get the ball rolling I made a list of 10 ideas. Some are maybe not all that great. And am looking for your ideas. And a mind shift on your part. THINK OF THEM through how they may be seeing the world.

6 feet apart please. No coughing, sneezing, wear gloves..


  1. Pay it forward. Go to the Marina and just hand them the usual amount of money you spend during the year. 
  2. If you are a supplier of these Marinas, as it parts, repairs etc. Offer them a huge discount on repairs. You get to work, they get to get stuff done and you will have a loyal customer for life. YOU ARE IN THIS TOGETHER.

    Lets all hold the flag together.

  3. If you work for a Marina, talk to your boss, offer to furlo yourself. If it’s a family operation, trust me.. TRUST ME, as a business owner they are doing everything they can to support you, make life easier on them, show you care. Offer to stay and help for a reduced pay. Think like an owner, not an worker. 
  4. TIP! last night we got a $15 Pizza and tipped $20. Yup. Sales are down. TIPS are deeply appreciated. And are on the top money. As in no labor or cost of goods. And cash tips.. Well..

    I keep meaning to use this part..

  5. If possible get all the crap done on your boat you keep putting off. If the Marina had to close. There are employees out of work. See if you can hire one of the people to work on your boat at your house? CASH.
  6. Buy the parts from them direct, pay retail you cheap ass, and do the work yourself. What the hell else are ya gonna be doing. But buy the materials from them. They have it. Think restaurants. They get supplies, like toilet paper and paper towels from suppliers. If you buy from them and work around the grocery stores? Think out of the box here. Parts mark up is a money maker for your marina.
  7. If you know the family, call them and ask how you can help them. They may need something you had no idea they needed.  
  8. To you, boating is a free time thing, a way to relax and play. TO them it’s a livelihood, a job, and work. You are their paycheck. Just a reminder
  9. Start a fund raising effort around the lake, river to help support them. They wont do it. But you can.

    It happens

  10.  The Wood Boat community is a special community. We care on a deep level for the art of boating. Helping your local marina, even if they have pushed you out for pontoon boats, may help balance the universe. 

We are screwed with them

Thats all I have, I wish I had a Silver Bullet or Silver Pill to make this not ..well..like this. But it is, and I just keep thinking, WE ARE LITERALLY IN THE SAME BOAT TOGETHER. If we all row in the same direction, we will get out of it. So grab an oar, and start paddling. NO, not that way, this way. UGH!

What the?

13 replies
  1. Bob Murdock
    Bob Murdock says:

    Dear Matt,
    No truer words than yours right now.
    Here in northern MI, we were ready for a big year with big plans and had just started the ball rolling.
    Now, the DNR is padlocking ramps, issuing tickets if you fish too close together and on top of it all, right now all marinas are deemed non-essential, so it’s illegal to be working on-site.
    At Howe Marine, we are involved with our wooden boat community big time. We love them all, take care of many and nurture generations of owners who feel as we do.
    How do I tell such passionate friends and customers they can’t have their boat put in the water because right now it’s illegal for me to have my wonderful crew work together? Keep them all six feet apart at the craneway? Really? How do I begin to sanitize a wooden boat so I don’t risk infecting a friend?
    So many questions and no clarity at the moment.
    Believe me, all of us in the marina business are trying to find a way through this and be ready if we get the all-clear signal. Right now, no one knows as here in the upper Midwest, we’re weeks behind the full viral effect and are just plain scared.
    Oh and “business interruption insurance” doesn’t cover pandemics.
    In the meantime, we’ll reach out to our family (customers), take care of our (family) crew and hope we get a little summer. Hell, up here, summer is just two months of bad ice, so every day that goes by that we can’t work means that much less cash flow.
    As the picture shows, we were just starting to get some things rolling……..
    Stay safe and we’ll all pray we get to see each other in person again sometime soon!!!

    • Jim Murdock
      Jim Murdock says:

      Thanks Matt for thinking about the people that keep the hobby afloat (literally) this is going to be a horable year for marine related businesses especially those that have working Marina’s that rely heavily on the summer. Any help to those folks will be appreciated. Stay Safe and Well. Jim

  2. keith colonna
    keith colonna says:

    Hello Matt, Readers,
    Thanks for this thoughtful list. Additionally I might suggest that marina tenants be sure and pay their rent on time! As a marina owner, I’ve found that some boaters consider their hobby craft and associated rent as their last obligation….and that’s during good times.

    • Dick Dow
      Dick Dow says:

      Keith! Hello from the Pacific Northwest! Matt, you hit the nail on the head. (again) Ron Stevenson recently forwarded me a report on the status of marine related facilities in the Salish Sea – Basically, everything is shut down from the Broughtons in BC to Olympia, WA. You can still fuel up, (deemed essential) but transient guests are not welcome and most services/stores/restaurants are shuttered. In addition, the marine state parks are closed, including buoys!

  3. Ollon
    Ollon says:

    Tried to contact my marina in Big Bear Lake. Got a long message basically saying they and the lake are totally shut down UFN. Hoping for the best and a quick resolve. The entire community and economy up there revolves around the lake in summer and the ski resorts in winter which closed early this year and is already making a huge impact.
    I cant even get there right now due to the stay in place orders which deter travel to vacation homes. And who would dare make a pee and gas stop on the way through L.A. anyway.
    Where we live on the central coast of CA is taking a huge hit since it is largely tourist driven. We supported a few of our local wineries this week by picking up a couple cases. The tasting rooms are all closed but they are doing curbside pickups. They are all offering deep discounts and reduced or free shipping to anywhere in the US in order to keep you properly hydrated during these trying times. Stay safe and do what you can to help all those in need. Hopefully we will all be boating soon.

  4. Troy
    Troy says:

    I agree with the premise of this story of support, however we also need to remember that many of us are small business owners in different sectors and are probably struggling also.

    Even the businesses that are deemed essential, like auto repair and such, are seeing very little business in these strange times.

    I have heard that the booze stores are doing a gang buster business.

  5. Damon
    Damon says:

    TAHOE CLOSED. Got an email from Sierra Boat that they have furloughed their employees and moving forward they will all take a 20% pay cut. They closed and stopped all work on March 19 with the boats locked inside until possibly May 1 depending on how things are looking. They donated all their N95 masks and gear to hospitals.

    Word has it all the Marinas here are following suit. Since boat ramps are either part of the marinas or the public recreational areas they are closed as well as are the watercraft inspection stations. No way to go boating for a while. I am sure we will all get to go boating at some point this summer but it will be delayed and gas money (actually all money) is quickly evaporating.

  6. Rob Attfield
    Rob Attfield says:

    Great advice. Marinas are really worth supporting. May I offer an editorial suggestion? Apostrophes are NOT used to denote plurals (more than one). They are used to show possession (someone owns something, such as Matt’s boat), or for contractions like the word “can’t” short for can not.
    Please don’t use them for phrases like “Our local Marina’s. ” That is incorrect. Sorry to be nit-picky but this misuse drives me crazy.

    • Wudzgud
      Wudzgud says:

      Misuse is part of the fun of WoodyBoater. Seeing how Matt spells and uses punctuation make the reading even more fun. Or would that be more funner.
      America has baseball and apple pie
      WoodyBoater has poor spelling and bacon

    • Marine Worker
      Marine Worker says:

      “0ffer to furlough yourself”!?!?!?
      So we should take the backbone of the hobby and ask them to fall on their swords for the good of marina owners. What a shock coming from the owner class. How about we protect the jobs of the (very) few skilled workers in the field. Otherwise good luck getting your boat worked on in the future.

  7. Matt
    Matt says:

    Well this is my point, in one comment. As a family business owner. Yes, and as a former employee. I always felt ownership of my work and craft. Being an owner is a two way sword. First, know this, many are going without pay to support you during this time. Myself included. My staff is my family. If I can afford to lay low, I will. If you look into the furlough numbers if you make around 50K a year, you could just about break even and a furlough includes the health insurance your company pays, or should pay. I pay my staffs insurance. A marina I am sure has staff that is on commision, so they are in very rough shape. And if you are a service person. Furlough.
    Another point as an owner class?? What ever the hell that is. We all work for someone. If I go under. You go under as well. Hopefully your marina has applied for the PPP loan and Grant. Its designed to cover your payroll for two months. That is another thing I am doing.
    There is no real winners in this, only loosers. We are all loosers together, and my point of Furlough yourself, was to show ownership and partnership with the owner. Thats how you become an owner. Be a bitter employee and you will be the easiest one to lay off and replace.

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