The Dillon Marina is busily preparing for the 2013 boating season. There are a handful of changes that marina visitors can expect to see this summer.
Four new boats have been added to the marina fleet. The boats are 18 feet long, made by Larson and have 115 horsepower motors. They will join the other 22 boats that visitors can rent to take out on the lake this summer.
Construction to expand and pave the parking lot has been ongoing. Marina manager Bob Evans said that as soon as the snow can be cleared away and the ground softens, the construction can continue and be finished before the marina opens in May. The snow has caused delays in the parking lot work, but Evans said he didn't mind, as more snow means more water in the reservoir in the summer.
"I'll take the snow, because we need the water," he said.
Despite talk of lower water levels this summer, the impact on visitors should be minimal, Evans said.
"I'm not as concerned as I was two weeks ago," he said of the water level, explaining that continuing snowstorms recently have helped.
Another advantage is the marina's long ramp, which was lengthened in 2002 and is useful for smaller boats to about 50 feet down. It is one of the few ramps of its length in the area.
Last year, the marina counted about 55,000 visitors, a number that Evans said he believes can be topped this summer.
"I hope to get a lot more this year," he said. "We get better and better with the stuff we do down here. We learn more and more. I think it's because we're trying to make the place not just a place to keep your boat, but a place to come and have fun and have activities for non-boat owners down here."
Among other changes to the marina area are improvements to the Tiki Bar and a new location for the Yacht Club, which is looking at possible renovations and additions to the building, such as a deck.
"There's always something going on," said Evans, of what draws visitors to the marina. "It's a cool place for people to come out and walk around and look at the boats. That's the main thing, to get people who are not boat owners down here and get them interested in boating."
The more people he can draw into the world of boating the better, Evans said. Events like the J-24 Nationals boating race are a big draw. The marina also was named "Marina of the Year," in the large category, by Marina Dock Age magazine, a nationally recognized trade publication.
"It's going to be an exciting year," Evans said.