Most of us don’t have a spare boat sitting around, nor a friend willing to let theirs go on a good boating weather day.
So when Jon came home after a fishing excursion with friends and finally told me he jumped a log, I was a little worried.
Then he admitted he didn’t land as smoothly as those good old boys from the Dukes of Hazzard did when they jumped the General Lee.
I will admit I wanted to cry, but I didn’t and I didn’t even fuss, just put my head down and walked back in the house. Over the next few days, Jon was already starting to scope new boats while I was being a Molly Moper, frustrated by the very real probability we are done boating for the year now.
That thought was more depressing than the chore of getting the boat fixed!
September and October in our household can be full of last minute decisions, I often call the “Sunday struggle.”
So sometimes (in the spirit of his beloved football season) we resort to flipping a quarter to keep the choices fair.
Is it a day for fishing for football? Can we fish and listen to the game or is it one we really would rather watch and hit the fishing hole at night? If it's a bi-week we are golden for fishing or running off to a fall festival, place of interest or an out-of-town favorite. Typically we prefer to save nights for fishing locally so we can stay out late and not be far from home when we are ready to reel in the lines.
And let me tell you, we have spent years crafting how to handle these Sunday struggles in the fall because of his love of football and mine of being outside as much as possible before I am shut in during the winter months. Now I was facing the possibility of having to watch all the football games instead!
Knowing I couldn’t handle that sort of fate, I began looking at renting a boat for at least a couple different weekends. And that’s how I discovered the Mid-Ohio Boat Club. It is a great option for people who aren't boat owners (or don’t want to be), but love being on the water a few times a year.
Being part of the club also seems like a pretty smart way to “test the waters” if you are considering becoming a boat owner. You'll even receive on-water training so you can feel confident and comfortable being on the water.
To join the club you pay an annual fee and have a simple, affordable alternative to boat ownership. There are no worries about boat insurance costs, docking fees, maintenance, service or storage of a boat. There are flexible packages for you to pick what fits your life and finances. Once a member, the only additional cost is for the fuel you use.
The club offers a weekday use package that allows you to reserve boats on weekdays, excluding holidays. The same package allows for walk-ins on a weekday, if a boat happens to be available. Their unlimited package allows you to reserve boats 7 days a week, including holidays, and walk-ins are allowed 7 days a week if a boat is available.
Reservations for club members can be made up to 6 months out so you can really plan a fun time. The rentals cover a four hour window, with three-time brackets. To keep the members and boats balanced for a fair amount of use, there are a maximum of 7 club members for each boat at each location to minimize scheduling conflicts.
Club members are allowed three standing reservations at one time.
I found out that the club’s boating season is from mid April to mid October. Club members also have the benefit of some perks at the marina, such as unlimited use of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards; water sports equipment and floating mats; 25% discount on Cruise Boat rentals for large parties and even 10% discount on marina store merchandise, food, drinks and bait.
Boat Club members have access to brand-new Starcraft pontoons rigged with the ultra-reliable Yamaha and Suzuki outboard motors. With several sizes and options to choose from, you will have the option to enjoy a cruise pontoon or high-powered ski pontoon.
And the best part, in my opinion, is that if you truly love being on the water, members of the Mid-Ohio Boat Club means you can choose which lake to use all season or you can pay a little more for access and reservations on both Charles Mill and Pleasant Hill. This means you just doubled your boat season fun but not your expense!
Charles Mill Marina is located on Charles Mill Lake and is a 10 horsepower limit lake. With over 30 miles of shoreline to explore, it offers great fishing, serene nature and breathtaking sunsets. Pleasant Hill Marina is located on Pleasant Hill Lake and is an unlimited horsepower lake. Here boaters enjoy gorgeous views, thrilling speeds and a wide variety of fish species.
Of course, one may simply rent a boat or watercraft from either marina without the seasonal obligation, as well.
For those of you who like a challenge or trying their hand at new adventures, there is also the Mansfield Sailing Club. Organized and operated differently (and independently) from the above marinas, this group of local water lovers teach and enjoy the sport of sailing on the Clearfork Reservoir.
This group operates during the typical boating seasonal months, holding racing regattas, sailing and rowing events. Membership levels vary, as do age ranges for participation. They also offer lessons to newbies.
According to the club, if you don’t have a sailboat, arrangements can be made for the lessons. Sailing is a sport that involves moving a boat by using the power of the wind, however it is much more demanding than just a vision of “floating” about and letting the wind do all the work!
This sport first started in Holland, Netherlands where they used yachts to race for fun. It is said that King Charles II brought the sport with him to England after his exile in the mid-1600s, and from there, the sport spread to other parts of the world. By 1851, large competitions were organized to showcase the best sailors in the world. The USA won the America’s Cup from 1851 to 1983. After that, Australia, New Zealand, and Switzerland have been bringing home the crown.
According to history, the heyday of sailing was not so very long ago. During the 1980s more than 12.5 million Americans sailed for recreation or sport. Unfortunately, in 2020 records showed there were only approximately 3.49 million participants in sailing in the U.S.
Life on the water can be challenging and costly sometimes, but with water enthusiast clubs, at least local residents can still experience it and make great lifelong memories.