DNR recommending reduction in charter boats at city marina

September 23, 2013

LUDINGTON — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is recommending the Michigan Waterways Commission reduce the number of charter boats allowed in Ludington Municipal Marina from 12 to eight. The request is being made followed by the protest of a group of private marina owners who believe allowing the charter boats in the city-funded marina offers unfair competition.

The city disagrees with the private marina owners’ point of view. “As you know, a group of private marina owners in Ludington requested the Waterways Commission to eliminate charter boats from the Municipal Marina,” City Manager John Shay wrote to Mayor John Henderson and City Council. “The city presented information to the DNR earlier this summer to show that the charter boats in the Municipal Marina are not providing unfair competition to the private marina owners, and that the request to eliminate charter boats from the Municipal Marina should be denied…”

Shay listed the following reasons:

– The slip rates at the city marina are higher than what is charged at the private marinas.

– The charter boats at the city marina have indicated that they will leave Ludington if they are forced to leave the Municipal Marina, since the private marinas do not offer the amenities that they need.

– The Waterways Commission should not dictate where charter boats dock their boats in Ludington.

– Some large boats cannot be accommodated at any of the private marinas, as their slips are too short.

There currently are eight charter boats docked at the Municipal Marina. “The DNR felt that (reducing the number) struck the right balance between the private marina owners’ concerns about competition and the city’s right to run its own marina.”

The DNR is seeking the city’s position on the recommendation before it is presented to the waterways commission at its late October meeting.

Shay said the Marina Board met on Sept. 19 and is recommending the city council support the DNR’s recommendation. The issue will also be discussed at the Finance Committee meeting today.