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The Family Marina – Getting Ready for Spring

Spring doesn’t so much ease its way in when you own and operate a family marina in the heart of cottage country, it more or less arrives one day with a most definite presence.  One morning you wake up and the birds sound different, the sun is warmer and the blackflies have grown to the size of a small dog.  You just know that this is the day the phone will start ringing with enthusiastic boaters.

At our marina, this day would be met with the arrival of friends and family gathering for the annual Boat Cleaning Weekend.  No one declined the offer to come, even though it meant hard work, because it marked the start of spring…and the hamburgers were great!  As the storage sheds were swung open we attacked our assigned tasks.  Ted, our senior mechanic, would spend the day running Bessy the old forklift up and down the hill to the storage sheds, accompanied by Director of Operations, four-year-old Mark.  The Aunts were in charge of cleaning the boats, the Uncles in helping with delivery, the mechanics responsible for tuning them up, and the kids for pop and water runs.  Mom was chief in charge of lunch and snacks, and Dad fielded all customer phone calls and organized the boat delivery teams.

This event went on for years and it was always the same. There was always one boat a racoon had wintered in, a boat with mice, despite the diligence of the barn cats, and it always snowed the day after the storage sheds were opened.  It rained every second year, the work boat broke down and a boater asked for delivery even though the ice was still in his bay.   Every year May 24th weekend would roll around and a transport carrying next winter’s snowmobile order would arrive causing all production to stop and the Snap on Tool Representative would pull in unannounced to showcase his latest products, drawing the service department away from their work.

Strangely enough, even though I cringe at the thought of cleaning one more boat, I still find myself subconsciously reaching for a bottle Spry 9 every time the air warms and birds sing their special spring song.  I wouldn’t trade those days for anything!

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270-92 Caplan Ave, Barrie, ON, L4N 9J2
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