MINNEAPOLIS — The forecasts lately haven't been showing perfect boating weather, but it's still the prime time to think about boating in Minnesota.
The Minneapolis Convention Center is filled with the latest boats and technology to hit the water for the Minneapolis Boat Show. The show runs from Jan. 24-27.
Not everyone has extra money to spend on a boat. And even if you do, there's a lot that goes into maintaining one.
But, there is still a way to enjoy the boating lifestyle without the huge investment.
The Hoofnagle family is one in Minnesota that likes to spend time on the warm waters of Lake Minnetonka.
While the family does a lot of boating, they've avoided any responsibilities for upkeep. How?
By renting instead of owning.
"We go here, they put our stuff on the boat, we go boat, we come back, they take it off, we go home," Bill Hoofnagle said. "That's it. It's convenient, it's simple and it's so much fun."
The Hoofnagles are members of the Your Boat Club. It's based in Minneapolis, where there's a fleet of 215 vessels of all types to rent with 15 locations in three states.
Founder Luke Kujawa can't deny there's a lot of work and cost to operating a boat, but he wanted to come up with a way "to give people all of those same experiences and memories out on the water without all of the hassles of actually owning a boat."
Those hassles can range from trailering, launching, loading, waiting in line at launch ramps, servicing, winterizing, storing, finding a place in a garage and hauling.
Just operating the boat alone can be another challenge, because of the necessary training.
"We walk through all of the basic boat operations, reading the marker buoys, how to pull in and out of slips," Kujawa said. "We want our members to feel very very comfortable out on the product as well as provide a safe experience for everybody."
The Hoofnagles say they've enjoyed their 10 years of renting and reeling in the memories.
A few boat enthusiasts in the KARE 11 newsroom say that a decent "runabout" for a family of 6 to 8 would be about $25,000 - $30,000. And that's not including insurance, maintenance and storage costs.
Memberships for Your Boat Club start at $1,895 and average about $5,000. Rentals start at about $100 for a half-day.
If you run into a problem on the water, there is a thousand dollar deductible. So, if a driver smashes the whole front end or runs the bottom up on a sand bar and ruins it, they'd pay a thousand-dollars and Your Boat Club covers the rest.
Visit the Your Boat Club website for more information.
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