Reporting Jamie Yuccas
SPRING PARK, Minn. (WCCO) - Our early warm-up allowed people to hit the water sooner than expected. Now the warm sunshine and cool breeze over Lake Minnetonka is luring people to the water.
Nobody knows that better than Paul Bergquist, owner of Minnetonka Boat Club and Rental.
“I like this lake, it’s my passion. It’s everything I enjoy. I only relax on the water, so I have a good idea of how to give that to people,” said Bergquist.
A lot of city dwellers want the experience of a day on the lake, but owning a boat is too expensive for the average causal boater.
For a hassle-free day on the lake without breaking the bank, renting has become the way to go.
“There’s no time for preparing the boat, finding the slip, taking it to the maintenance facility. Here you just come out, go boating, we take care of the rest,” Bergquist said.
Jay Hefel found that boat rental was the perfect solution for a trip out on the water with a dozen of his coworkers. They took a sunny Friday afternoon off to celebrate a successful work season on the lake.
“Nobody with us has one. We thought it’d be a good idea to rent one for the afternoon,” said Hefel. “We don’t really have to deal with pulling it anywhere, cleaning it up or any of the dirty work. We just show up and hit the water. When we’re done, we just leave.”
The downturn of the economy left little money for people to buy boats and maintain them. Much like cars, boats lose value every time they take a spin around the lake.
“Last year we noticed more demand, people are looking for more value-based services,” he said.
Renting boats is becoming so popular, they’re booking out 4 to 6 weeks ahead of time on Lake Minnetonka or Medicine Lake. The start of the season is mid-May, but things really pick up after June.
“To go out on a $25,000 boat, for $375 for the day, that’s all inclusive. People can get together and do their family functions for a very cost effective price” said Bergquist.
No experience is necessary. Novice sailors are trained on how to safely handle the water craft before they’re pushed off from the dock.
“Part of what we do is build boaters,” said Bergquist. “Entry-level people who don’t have much experience, don’t understand the lake, come out, get acquainted with it. Then before too long, they get so excited they buy a boat. I’ve seen it happen four times during my tenure.”
Other rental options include 14-seater pontoons, which rent for $375 a day, and jet skis are $110 for two hours. The easiest days to get a rental are Monday through Wednesdays.
Click here for more information on Minnetonka Boat Club & Rental, or call (952)472-1220. For jet skis, call (952)474-0366.