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'Safe Outdoor Activity': Minn. Boat Sharing Rental Co. Sees Huge Demand During Pandemic

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- As summer events and plans are canceled, families are turning to activities they can do, like boating.

Your Boat Club, a boat sharing rental company, saw nearly a 300% increase in new memberships compared to this time last year. And the company implemented safety policies and new cleaning procedures.

As the days get warmer and longer, boating is a popular way to pass the time.

"Just great to be outside and be in the sun and you know be on the water," member Kyle Johnson said.

COVID-19 cramped spring and summer plans and families clamored to find a backup plan. It sent sales soaring at Your Boat Club.

"We're just thankful that boating is a safe activity, safe outdoor activity and we were allowed to open up," Your Boat Club co-owner Luke Kujawa said.

The boat sharing company operates 250 boats in 21 locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, the majority of them in Minnesota. The owners made safety and sanitation a top priority during the health crisis, including employees wearing masks and disinfecting boats after every use.

"Spray the entire boat down, wipe the entire thing down, all the seats, all the handrails. We come through again with an even more concentrated product and spray down all the high touch areas: the grab handles, the steering wheel, the shifters, the radio control knobs," Kujawa said.

When people arrive, there's a designated place to wait, along with marina rules. And they're limiting dock traffic and urging social distancing plus asking people to carry their own gear to the boat.

"We've actually felt really comfortable about it, just all the communication," Kyle Johnson said.

The Johnson's say they're glad to have an outdoor outlet.

"So, it's really is nice to have something to look forward to do that's outside of our house and outside of our neighborhood," mom Sara Johnson said.

Sports were canceled for their kids, so on the water is where they'll be active.

"I'm looking forward to doing tubing and skiing and fishing because I can't play baseball," son Will Johnson said.

Your Boat Club says they'll keep up the safety measures to keep business going.

"It's super important from our staff and customer perspective in trying to keep everybody safe and make sure that we're doing everything we can to stop the spread," Kujawa said.

Memberships in Minnesota are sold out for the summer. Your Boat Club still has some availability for daily rentals. Click here for their COVID-19 protocol and more information.

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