Good Season Predicted for Region's Boaters
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
24 May 2015
By Jodi Weigand
Unseasonably warm weather and less rain this spring than last year
has marina owners and boaters predicting a good boating season.
“In light of the weather being what it is so far, we're cautiously
optimistic that this will be a good year,” said Frank Hack, who
helps out at Outboard Haven in Verona. “We're praying for the good
Lord to have mercy on us that we'll have a good summer.”
The weather has been so encouraging that many people have their
boats in the water.
Priscilla and Andy Gagnon of North Huntingdon have been out on the
river this spring. The couple was out last weekend polishing their
cruiser at the Oakmont Yacht Club.
Priscilla Gagnon said they're happy to be able to get out this
Memorial Day weekend.
“Last Memorial Day the river was raging and there were a lot of
debris and no one was out,” she said.
This year, they plan to meet up with friends and go rafting on the
river, she said.
They're also looking forward to more trips to Pittsburgh's North
Shore, one of their favorite destinations.
Lauren Chorney, co-owner of Rosston Eddy Marina near Ford City,
said the good weather means they've been working seven days a
“We're hopping here,” she said. “There are lots of boats in the
water and people getting their boats serviced.
“I think it's going to be a fabulous summer season.”
Last season was a much different story. Some of those who had paid
for a slip at Rosston Eddy had yet to put in their boats by July,
and more than half of the slips at Bell Harbour Yacht Club in
Blawnox were empty.
In 2014, heavy rain in the northern part of the state in May and
June elevated flows on the Allegheny River from the Kinzua Dam in
Warren County to downtown Pittsburgh.
Mud and debris in the water kept most boats docked.
It was one of the coolest summers on record in the region. The
average temperature in June, July and August was 70 degrees. The
region set a record low on July 29 at 51 degrees, according to the
National Weather Service.
This year, the weather has been quite the opposite, with
temperatures well above the normal of 71 degrees for May. Most
days temperatures have been in the mid to upper 70s, with a few
days hitting the upper 80s.
Rain in May has been about half of the four inches the region
“So far, things are looking great weather-wise and, after the
winter we've had, everybody's looking forward to a fantastic
boating season,” said Mike Shafer, president of the Oakmont Yacht
Club. “We recently added more docks and we're full and have a
CJ Miller, owner and manager of the Cheswick Marina, said they
expect to have one of their best seasons ever.
“We're expecting to be full for the first time in eight years
since we've owned it,” he said. “Our season starts May 1 and a
good majority of people have already put their boats in. Others
will put in over Memorial Day weekend or early June.”
William “Buzz” Knepp, owner of O'Hara Landing Boat Club, said
boaters have been so enthusiastic that some went weeks ago to park
their boats outside Heinz Field in anticipation of the May 30
Kenny Chesney concert.
“It's like Black Friday, everything opens early, then it's two
days and then places are open 24 hours,” Knepp said.
Better river conditions have certainly contributed to the
“Last year there was a ton of debris,” Knepp said. “The river is
better and the boaters are out and about.”
Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be
reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org.