Boating business booming amid pandemic

One local business is looking to expand in the coming year, after busiest season ever.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — Many different industries are struggling to get to the other side of the pandemic. But one business is booming, and that’s boating. 

Josh Cook, the owner of 1 Adventure Company, was initially worried about the start of the season. 

The local business, located on Lake Macatawa, offers boat rentals and delivery, as well as tours and paddleboarding and kayaking lessons.

Prebookings were down 80%, and they were forced to delay opening for several weeks.

But Cook said they’re busier than ever, thanks to federal payouts, people vacationing closer to home, and the lower-risk option of boating.

Already seeing sales double over last year, he went from three employees to ten, bought more kayaks and boats, and plans to expand in the coming year. 

“We’d love to expand into other locations,” Cook said. “We’d like to move to the east side of Lake Macatawa, towards the mouth of the river where the river meets Lake Mac. We’d love to put in a kayak/paddleboard place there to get people off the lake kayaking, and more on the river that’s secluded from boats.”

Cook said their online booking and waiver system has helped them with contactless interactions. 

They’re continuing to clean and now disinfect the boats after every use, wear masks during safety briefings, and lowered capacity by 20%. 

1 Adventure Company is also seeing more people renting for the first time, and is selling out in advance. 

You can book everything from pontoon and speed boats, to kayak and paddleboards on their website.

One-hour boat rentals range in price from $95 to $295, and $25 for kayaks and paddleboards.

Cook said the most popular rental is 2-hours, to boat the perimeter of Lake Macatawa, and they also offer daily and multi-day rates.

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