TONKA BAY, Minn. (WCCO) — Standing along the Lake Minnetonka shoreline, the buzz of activity is apparent.
Tractors hooked to trailers that deliver a steady flow of boats into the open water. One of just 400 or so boats that Tonka Bay Marina had in storage, but now must quickly launch into a new season.
“They’re working a minimum of 14 to 16 hour days,” Tonka Bay Marina Owner Gabe Jabbour said.
What’s normally done in a minimum of a 45-day window has been cut in half, thanks to the May 5 ice out on the lake. The impact of that is obvious – marinas and boat and dock servicing companies are in a mad scramble to get their work done.
“So far we’ve had 18 days since ice out, so we are trying to condense all that into a small time frame and it’s difficult,” Jabbour said.
The extremely late spring has boat and dock service crews working sunup to sundown. Getting docks and lifts off the shoreline and into the water.
“Everybody in the lake service providing industry is swamped right now,” said Bret Niccum.
With 200 boats and another 350 docks to get installed, Niccum says his and other companies are doing the best they can.
“It’s such a late ice out we’re trying to pack 50 days into 15 basically. There are not enough hours in the day to keep everybody happy,” Niccum said.
Steve Leighton has his boat already floating. However, there is no canopy covering his slip.
“If I have to wait for my regular guy to do it I think I’m at least two weeks away yet, or more, I don’t know,” Leighton said.
The canopy is important for more than the obvious reason to keep the rain off. He’s been noticing birds perched atop the framework, using his boat as a bathroom.
“I’d like to tell the birds out there to sit there and not do their thing on the boat, but they’re not listening to me,” Leighton said laughing.