Summit County marinas fully staffed, almost fully booked
Rental boats are nearly 100% booked through the high season in Summit County, according to a memo to Dillon town staff and a statement from Frisco Bay Marina General Manager Logan Snyder. Dillon Marina Director Craig Simpson said the high season goes from July through late August, about the time when students return to school.
“We’re delivering a product that I can be proud of for sure,” he said.
So far, he said, “it’s gone really well.” A near 100% booking rate has been the status quo for Dillon since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic when boating and other outdoor activities increased in popularity.
Dillon Marina’s fleet consists of 30 rental boats, all mostly booked through the summer. In addition, the average wait time for a slip at the Dillon Marina has soared to seven years, Simpson said.
Frisco Bay Marina is experiencing similar demand with its fleet, Snyder said. Rentals in Frisco are 100% booked for weekends and holidays through the summer, and that rate only drops into the 90% range on weekdays. Power boats specifically are close to 100% booked, while paddle boats are hovering between 80% and 90% booked, Snyder said.
Hitting another 100% mark, the Frisco Bay Marina is currently fully staffed to work every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Snyder added, however, in an ideal scenario the marina would be open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. If it attempted that, it would only be considered 63% staffed, Snyder said.
The Dillon Marina is also at full staffing. Simpson said the staff on-hand has been great. The marina is adequately staffed for its extended hours, and for the late season when students leave for classes. Despite the eventual success, he said there were concerns early in the spring about staffing levels at the marina.
“We were a bit concerned about it,” he said. The city posted available positions in April, he said, but people were applying later than normal. The whole process he said — from applying to making offers — had shifted about two weeks later than normal.
Referencing Tuesday’s work session discussion of dual-use properties, Simpson said he’s happy the Dillon Town Council is willing to have robust, solution-oriented conversations about workforce housing. As an employer, he said, that’s what needs to happen. Service will suffer if sustainable housing can’t be created, he said.
Incentive programs that Dillon put together in recent years benefited the marina, he said. He cited incentives as one reason the marina reached full staff this season. But he said fear is always what’s going to happen next year. He’s hopeful Dillon can sustain its staffing levels for years to come.
Weather is another consistent issue for the marinas to address.
“We’ve managed to get through some severe weather patterns,” Simpson said.
The town of Dillon and its marina sit at the “bullseye” of five valleys, he said. Winds can come from several directions, with a few major weather patterns coming from the north.
In adverse weather, dock anchor cables can snap, the docks can move and gangways can go underwater. Winds out of the south and southwest can send large rolling waves directly to the marina. Last year, ice turned one gangway into a “taco,” Simpson said.
The marina has a team dedicated to checking cables each morning, and Simpson said he feels confident in their abilities.
A marina is unique in that everything is either on the water or in the water, and it requires a trained staff that can react to what comes at it.
“We’ve had big events out of the north,” Simpson said. Dock anchors cable can snap. The dock can move. Gangways have gone into the water.
Denver Water tracks the reservoir’s surface elevation. According to the latest Denver Water report, in a normal scenario, the Dillon Reservoir should reach peak height at about 9,014 feet in June, and drop to about 8,996 feet in October. In a dry scenario, the reservoir would only reach about 9,008 feet in June and drops to 8,996 feet in October. In a wet scenario, the reservoir would hit 9,017 feet in June and drops to about 9,000 feet in October. Those numbers are up from preseason predictions, Simpson said.
Currently, the reservoir is at about 95% capacity, Denver Water reports.
Although water levels are below 100%, Simpson said he’s confident.
“We’re going to get through this season no problem,” he said.
It’s next season that concerns him.