Great Pond Marina is Belgrade Lakes headquarters for water fun
June 27, 2007 -
If Memorial Day weekend was any indication of how business is going to be this summer at Great Pond Marina, owners Debbie and Bob Gardiner are going to be very busy.
"We couldn't get their boats out of storage fast enough," joked Bob Gardiner. "If there's supposed to be a downturn in the economy, we haven't seen it."
Gardiner said that in his experience, families who have just two weeks of vacation a year may skimp on a few extras, "but they aren't going to change their plans because gas is up $.25 a gallon."
The Gardiners have owned great Pond Marina, considered to be Belgrade Lakes region's number one boating headquarters, since 1991. During that time, business has not only increased, but gradually changed.
While their rental fleet was once focused on fishing boats and runabouts, Great Pond Marina is now renting pontoon boats more often than the sport watercrafts. "We call weekends "Family Fun Days" because of the popularity of pontoon boats," explained Debbie Gardiner.
If you want a leisurely cruise on the water rather than a quick spin around the lake at high-speed, then pontoon boats are a much better option. Plus they hold more people.
Great Pond Marina also has kayaks for those who want to explore the beauty of the lakes at an even slower pace.
Sales also reflect changes in preference, as "baby boomers" move to pontoon boats while young professionals opt for the 25 foot watercraft. "When we first got the place, a 20 foot boat was considered big," said Bob Gardiner. "Now we're selling a lot more 24, 25, and 26 footers."
As of last fall, the marina also became a registered seaplane base. The service, provided by Airlink LLC of Waterville, will provide seaplane rides, instructions and pilot certification this summer.
Since Great Pond Marina will undoubtedly be a hotspot for some of vacationers this summer, the Gardiners have also taken major steps to ensure it's an environmentally safe place.
The Marina actively supports the Boat US "Stop the Drops" campaign to prevent accidental fuel spills into the lake. "Every fuel source on the property has a secondary container," said Bob Gardiner, "and all of our maintenance is done away from the water."
One of the top-selling product lines at Great Pond Marina is Clean Water Solutions - absorbent products that contain Archaea microbes that literally eat hydrocarbons like gas, oil and kerosene and convert them into beneficial, fatty acids.
Gardiner pulled a Clean Water Solutions bumper out from one of the docks, noting that it would absorb every drop of oil and gasoline that accidentally spilled from a boat entering or leaving the premises. "These are a little expensive, but worth every penny to me. We don't take shortcuts when it comes to protecting our lake," said Gardiner.
Great Pond Marina also has a full service marine store, moorings, slips -- including some with electrical access indoor storage for up to 300 boats and even a sandy beach for.customers.
For more information, check out their website at www.greatpondmarina.com
This article originally appeared in the Kennebec Journal June 27, 2007
Lakes: Great Pond
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