CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Boat co-owners Mark Flannery and Philip Mullins figured out early on what summer in Charleston is all about.
And if you're lucky, you'll score an invitation or two on their boat or on another boat whose owner you know.
The Kanawha River runs through Kanawha County, passing right by downtown Charleston. During the summer months, the river is the city's main attraction.
Many people enjoy rides on speedboats, pontoons, fishing boats, Jet Skis and kayaks, keeping the river popular and populated. The community has rallied around the river by creating events such as the Moses Automotive Live on the Levee concert series and the weekly Magic Island movie night, both of which are most fun to watch from the deck of a boat.
"The point of owning a boat is to give people a place to congregate," Flannery said when asked if he tires of requests from friends to go boating.
Flannery and Mullins, both 25, prove how accessible boat ownership can be for young professionals. As longtime friends, Mullins said, "Mark and I always kind of joked about buying a boat or camper or some toy of that nature."
Charleston natives, Flannery and Mullins grew up in families that owned boats. Mullins recalls his family's boating adventures to be some of his earliest memories. Both men have spent summer after summer learning the ins and outs of the river and have grown to appreciate everything it provides for the community.
Their opportunity to become boat co-owners came in 2012 when Mullins, who works for Trojan Landing Marine Inc., spotted a steal of a deal on a 1986 Wellcraft 230. The boat was listed for $3,500, and the duo was able to work the purchase price down to $2,850. After taxes, the final cost rounded out to be roughly $3,100.
Flannery was able to finance the boat with an agreement between the two regarding sharing the financial responsibilities. For insurance, the co-owners found affordable rates through Geico. "All in all our purchase process was fairly easy," Mullins said.
After a six-hour online course, required to obtain a boating license, the new co-owners were ready get their purchase on the water -- almost.
"Like anything else from 1986, the boat needed a little updating," Mullins laughed.
The boat had some minor mechanical issues that Mullins was able to repair, and once the repairs were finished, the co-owners had to outfit it with new safety equipment to meet legal regulations. To put the finishing touches on the purchase, Flannery and Mullins spent about a week cleaning every nook and cranny, and eventually even painting the bottom of the boat with special protective paint.