CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the summer winds down, boaters on the Kanawha River and other waterways are looking to capitalize on what good days are left, after what some marine business owners called a disappointing season.
Some business along the rivers did well. But a rainy summer caused high water levels, which increased the amount of debris in water and reducing boaters' vision in the water.
Between April 1 and Sept. 1 this year, Charleston had 24.84 inches of rainfall, compared to 17.61 inches of rainfall during the same time last year, according the National Weather Service in Charleston.
"It didn't work out as well as we'd like for it to," said Riley Brothers, president and general manger of Charleston Marina.
"We had some nice hot weather, which we like, but the issue seemed to be the weekends," he said. "Weekends seemed to be the time the river was up or it was raining."
Charleston Marina provides in water storage, building storage, parts and service assistance and accessories. Brothers said the goal is to be a one-stop marina.
"Although sales have been good people haven't been able to user their boats much this year as they have in the past," Brothers said. "It can rain everyday between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m., we've got to have rain. Ideally, just so it doesn't rain on the weekends."
Charleston Marina carries Sea Ray cruisers and runabout boats, as well as Bennington pontoon boats. They have some cruisers that are more than $200,000, and some that are $40,000. Their pontoons range from $20,000 to $100,000.
Brothers saw an increase in boat sales from last year. They sold what small cruisers they had in stock and have not received new ones. At this point, Brothers said they still have 31- to 32-foot cruisers in stock. The store maintains a variety of roundabout boats ranging from 19 feet to 26 feet.
Because of the wide variety of types of boats and varying price range, setting definitive sales goals remains tricky.
"We set a budget and we've got to sell so many hundred thousand worth of pontoon boats," Brothers said. "We'll say our target is maybe 10 of the $25,000 ones, 10 of the $35,000 ones and so on to come up with that goal."
Their consistent customer base comes from people who purchased boats from Charleston Marina. Brothers said they are careful to make sure those customers have their boats serviced in a timely manner.
"We're constantly asked to work on boats," he said. "Frankly, this year the demand hasn't been as strong as it has other years because people haven't boated as much."
Nearby river is Trojan Landing. In the past three summers, business has expanded.
"The boat sales side was a whole new section of this business," said Homer Graham, sales representative at Trojan. "They opened this about eight years ago and the function was dry stack storage, which is a unique thing in this area."
Graham said Trojan Landing offers the only dry stack storage center in the state. If someone buys a boat from Trojan, then they have a storage place in the building where their boat stays.