Stationed on the shores of Lake Mendota, SkipperBud’s staff pairs clients with their choice of vessel before launching them into the lake’s placid waters. Up to 12 passengers can lounge on the Sylvan pontoon’s wraparound couches as the vessel cruises past the university campus and circles Governor’s Island. The more compact Sea Ray, meanwhile, kicks up waves as it races to the dock.
Refreshing zephyrs glide off freshwater lochs and onto SkipperBud's, an all-purpose marina on the shores of Lake Mendota. New and used boats from high-end brands such as Starcraft and Sea Ray bob beside the sprawling facilities, where savvy salespeople bring decades of know-how to the 40-year-old company. Engine parts, safety tackle, and watersports equipment are also on hand, as are adept boat mechanics trained to tinker on most boat models and engine types. Indoor storage facilities fend off the icy barks of Old Man Winter, and, in the summer, make for easy access to Lake Mendota's launch points.
Action Marine keeps cutters in wave-cruising order with its comprehensive boat-maintenance services. A recommended part of the summerizing process, boat tune-ups are overseen by Action Marine’s certified technicians, whose constant training keeps them up-to-date on techniques for stomping out nautical nuisances on ships from manufacturers such as Mercury, Yamaha, MerCruiser, and Johnson. A typical tune-up involves inspecting the fuel and wires, replacing overworked filters and rotors, and making sure spark plugs haven't been replaced with vintage Game Boys. Mechanics also take a deeper look at engines, preventing mean-spirited contaminants from spiking the fuel with water. Once properly tuned, boats shake off the rust accrued during a wintery off-season, smoothly navigating summer seas while providing the low harmonies in all-boat Beach Boys cover bands.
Situated on Bangs Lake, Wauconda Boat is a full-service marina with certified and master technicians on staff. In addition to renting out paddleboards, kayaks, and pontoon boats, Wauconda Boat can also supply boat motors, parts, and mermaid repellent.
With about a decade's experience in starting up rowing clubs across the country, Row America is well versed in bringing the sport to a new audience. Its introductory Learn to Row classes teach sculling and other techniques to beginners whose only watercraft knowledge may have come from watching old Love Boat reruns. But Row America also serves more experienced athletes, who may dream of competing in the Olympics like founder Howard Winklevoss's sons did in 2008, with clubs for high schoolers and adults.