MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Memorial Day weekend is always a busy time on Minnesota’s waterways, even when it’s a little chilly outside.

But coming out of the pandemic, a space to park your boat on a lake is nearly impossible to find in the metro.

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Ellsa Ohmann is office manager at Bayport Marina Association, just south of Stillwater on the St. Croix River.

“Slips are in such a high demand, we get at least two or three calls every single day [saying], ‘Do you have a slip open? Do you have a slip open?’” Ohmann said.

All 200 of their boat slips are sold out for the summer, with a growing waitlist.

“Our waitlist right now is, I think it’s over 100-people long,” Ohmann said.

It’s the same story on the opposite side of the metro, according to Jimmy Mase, owner of In Towne Marina on Lake Waconia.

“We have 90 slips, and then we got 20 mooring buoys that we put some pontoons and sailboats out here, so 110 families keep their boat with us,” Mase said.

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(credit: CBS)

All 110 of their slips are also sold out.

“The waitlist, it really varies, but there’s over 100, I mean, it’s likely honestly more than that,” he said.

The family-owned marina has been on Lake Waconia for 40 years, and the demand for dock space has never been higher.

“It started last year and then continued into this year because we have everybody re-up in the fall, and I had my best return rates ever,” Mase said.

He believes the pandemic pushed people to buy their first boat, just for a reason to safely get out of their homes.

“We’re seeing new people that have never backed a boat down into the lake before, so that’s a new thing, and we’re helping people with that and stuff, too,” Mase said.
His best advice for those interested in buying a boat?

“Get on the waiting list now,” Mase said. “Don’t wait until you’re ready to get the slip because if you have any interest at all, it’s probably going to be a few years no matter where you go in the metro area right now.”

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While most seasonal slips are already sold out, there’s still a lot of temporary slips available on Minnesota rivers and lakes. You can get a temporary stay for the night or the weekend.

Marielle Mohs