BELPRE - Boaters were out in force over the Labor Day weekend as many wanted to get out and do some boating in the waning days of summer.
Boat ramps all of the area were crowded with people putting their crafts into the Ohio and Little Kanawha rivers for a day of fun on the water. Many area boaters felt they were able to get out and spend some time on the water throughout the summer, but many wished they could have gotten out more.
"It was a good summer," said Mike Shutts of the Blennerhassett Yacht Club in Belpre. "We didn't have a lot of rain, so it was a good summer overall.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Boaters load and unload their boats at the boat ramp in Williamstown Sunday as many area boaters got out on the Ohio River over the long Labor Day weekend to enjoy some time on the water during the last days of the summer.
"There has been a lot more traffic this year than there was last year."
As fuel prices had dropped from last summer, many area boaters were able to get out more this summer for some time on local waterways.
"Fuel prices made a big difference," Shutts said. "It made a real big difference in how much people went out."
Boaters had good weather last year, but with the fuel prices being so high, many joined together, went out on a single boat and split the fuel costs.
"This year with the lower fuel prices, it a little better and easier for people to go out," Shutts said. "I think the fuel prices have made a big difference."
Alan Ferrell of Vienna was out around the Williamstown/Marietta section of the Ohio River on Sunday enjoying time with his family on his boat.
"We didn't get into the water as much as we had hoped this season," he said. "We have been out four times this summer."
Ferrell said they usually try to go out for four or five hours. With the summer coming to a close, he expects they might be able to get back out a couple more times depending on everyone's availability.
"We will probably get out one or two more times," he said. "It depends on the kids being in school, their games and such."
John Vanoster of Little Hocking said the season was short for him. Vanoster was at the Belpre Boat Ramp on Sunday with Dick Schmidt of Circleville getting ready to put a boat into the water to do some waterskiing.
"We are usually down here about every other weekend in the summer, but this is only our third time out," Vanoster said. "We have been busy."
Even though fuel prices were higher, they made it out more last year. Schmidt said boaters usually make such allowances to be able to go out regularly.
"That is why I worked hard before I retired," he said.
Schmidt said he likes coming to this area to boat and waterski.
"The family lives down here and this is a great body of water to go on so we like it," he said. "It is not crowded which makes it safer. We like skiing where we think it is safer and with less traffic."
Vanoster expects they will be out on the water again today while Schmidt expects there is still a lot of time left this season to get out on the water.
Many local boaters still expect to be out on the river next weekend for the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival in Marietta before winding down for the season.
"We'll be here next weekend for the sternwheeler festival," Schmidt said. "We'll be on the water skiing. We have suits so we will take it until it gets cool."
Overall, boaters have had plenty of opportunities to enjoy themselves this summer, Shutts said.
"It has been a good year," he said. "We have had some days that were really hot, but the weather was pretty moderate for the most part.
"We didn't get a lot of rain that would create high water. For the most part on the weekends, the water has been great, the weather has been good and people have come out."
The Blennerhassett Yacht Club's docks have been full throughout the summer and the group had six new members join. Shutts expects people with the smaller boats to taper off in the coming weeks, but those with the larger boats can go on a while longer.
"It will fall off unless they have a real warm weekend like this one," he said. "You won't see much traffic from the smaller boats because of the cooler temperatures. Those with the houseboats and cruisers, we'll stay out until the end of October, the first of November.
"You pick nice days to go out so you can sit out on top and still enjoy it."