Keep Shelby St. boat launch open

Mar 11, 2014


Sandusky’s city commissioners deserve praise for making courageous decisions to balance the city’s budget. A budget crunch left the city $1.1 million in the red before the cuts were made.

Aside from perhaps the cuts that were made to the city’s fire department, the funding reduction that were perhaps the most difficult was the $443,000 cut in the city’s recreation department.

These cuts directly affect the quality of the life for many Sandusky residents and visitors. While it was sad to see the traditional Boo at the Bay Pumpkin Festival on the chopping block, we can understand tough decisions needed to be made.

Another possible cut includes reducing staff at the Shelby Street boat launch, or possibly closing it altogether. This, we believe, would be a mistake considering Sandusky has become a popular boat launch for recreational boaters and many fishing tournaments that have utilized the facility.

It’s bad enough that Paper District Marina has lost $103,000 since its debut and the city is cutting a concert series meant to help support the facility, but to turn our backs on one of the city’s growing attractions could ruin any momentum we’ve created for area boaters in recent years.

We urge commissioners to find a solution to keep the Shelby Street boat ramp open for the summer season.

Reducing public access to our region’s No. 1 natural attraction — Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie — doesn’t make sense, or cents.


The Bizness

Have E-hove, or a local high school engineering class work to install a waste heat electricity generator using the flame that is always burning from the water treatment plant. You can see the flame right from the boat launch. Use that heat to generate electricity for the boat launch area and make it grid tie to sell extra back to the grid.


Boat ramps work just fine without STAFF. None of the ODNR ramps are staffed. They offer free launching and are a true asset to the community. Get rid of the fee and staff at the sandusky boat ramp and it will prosper!


The paper district marina is a great facility, but has several MAJOR flaws. One is that the outermost pier is all 50AMP power. I travel with a large group of boats all over 35 feet and none of of use 50 amp power. 30amp is the standard on lake erie for almost all boats under 50'. Second, access to the finger piers needs to be controlled. Without basic security, no one is going to leave there large boat unattended for any length of time. I stayed at the Marina 3 weekends last summer and security was always a concern. Finally, hire dock hands that know how to tie up a boat and are responsive to boaters needs. Nothing worse than fighting a strong cross wind while the dock hand stands arms crossed and unwilling to help.


Well you're somewhat off-topic, but...

Don't know what you mean by "security." Do you mean armed guards? Locked gates with barbed wire?

Most transient marinas I have visited are well-run, highly successful, and wide-open. I like it that way and so do plenty of others. Who's guarding your house while you're on big ten-mile adventure on your floating cocktail lounge? Most houses are secured only with locks on the doors.

I have often see staff at that facility demonstrate eagerness to help and never anything else, but I suppose it could happen. But help with docking is a courtesy. If you're dependent on it often you're Doing It Wrong - an incompetent boater. Take a power squadron course. And downsize to the boat you can handle. That's how you choose a boat, NOT the biggest one you can pay for.

Fifty amp outlets can be used with 30 amp cords with a simple and readily available, albeit somewhat expensive, pigtail adapter. Bet you can afford it. Here's a fancy one:

and a fancier one:

I think there's a broad consensus that the place could have done with fewer 50-amp outlets. It wouldn't be that difficult to change every other one to 30 amp. In the meantime, the place could have a couple of adaptors on hand for for rent or as a courtesy. But that's the 1/10 empty. The glass is 90% full. It's an excellent facility with high quality docks and utilities, in a beautiful setting, with interesting things to do and services boaters need within walking distance. If cruisers from all over the Great Lakes don't begin stoppinig here, it's because they don't know about it.

The problem is, no one is adequately promoting this marina, not even the downtown businesses that would benefit from more visitors. The Huron Basin is much better at that, but it took them awhile to figure it out.

T. A. Schwanger



Factitious offers several valid points. Just another issue added to the list of poor planning of the Paper District Marina.

Take a look at the Huron Boat Basin in your backyard. It's also a wide open public transient marina without gates or security. They do however, have cameras tied directly to the Huron Police Department for security purposes.


Exactly - the marina needs meaningful security if boaters are expected to leave their vessels unattended, which they must in order to fulfill the developers' promise of deliver patrons to downtown businesses. As for the boat ramp, there's no reason to staff it except to collect fees, which will only drive traffic away to ramps in Ottawa County and Huron.

Factitious and Tim, most transient marinas are not adjacent to neighborhoods filled with people who reject the social contract (aka criminals) and even despite Huron's lower crime rate than Sandusky, boats at the Boat Basin have suffered thousands of dollars in vandalism damage. Boats also cannot be as easily secured as houses. Finally, I know of many transient marinas around the Great Lakes where one can have a great weekend without leaving the vicinity where they have sight of their boat - I thought the idea of this marina was that they would venture into the city to patronize local businesses. I'm curious, since you presume to speak with so much authority to what boaters want - do either of you have a boat?

Leave it to the Bizness to completely miss the reality on the ground in pursuit of pie in the sky boondoggles that service nothing but his idealogical axe grinding.


They can't close the Shelby ramp. they don't have to attend it, and they don't have to charge to use it. And they shouldn't; most often, it's not worth the cost of collecting the money.



T. A. Schwanger


There is an obvious misunderstood communication between the City and Sandusky Register. When the City Manager stated closure of the Shelby Street Boat Launch, the meaning was to not staff the ramp--not close the ramp.


Which is just fine - the only reason to staff it is to collect fees - fees that other ramps in the area don't charge, thus driving away business. Tourist boaters from out of town have to pass those other ramps to get to Sandusky's, so the fees will just drive away tourist dollars.