F.A.Q. frenquently asked qustions
Q. Whats your email? If you have a question ask me a good one and I will add it to the list!
A. RobertBHartzell@gmail.com Phone 651 270 7506 Office 715 747 6315 ext 0 or 800 822 6315
Q. What do I need to rent?
A. Boating experience (A dozen days of seatime minimum); a major credit card; and a respect for the Largeness of Lake Superior and willingness to go over a float plan with CaptainBobsMarina.com
Q. I have some experience but is it enough for Lake Superior?
A. You need to be confident you can handle a boat near the docks and maneuvering in tight spaces. As for the Largeness of Lake Superior, you can stay tucked into the Islands keeping to relatively protected waters. We spend time before every rental to go over google earth and the weather forcast to design a float plan for your comfort level. If you want to keep to a simple plan many Islanders find just a trip to Stockton Island to be adventurous enough and along a heavily traveled area (relativly for Lake Superior). Devils Island may have waves even on the calmest of days as you head out of the islands and into the big Lake.
Q. What if the weather sucks?
A. If you dont like the weather I dont like the weather. I will refund your deposit if you dont like the weather before you go out. However once you rent the boat you are responsible to react appropriately to changing conditions, and we do not refund for early returns as per the 1947 standard boat rental contract. Multi days should expect periods of less than perfect weather and unless a majority of the rental was extremely bad we cant prorate or refund long term rentals, early communicating on this is key. Keep in mind most if not all other rental companies dont give money back unless they cancel because of weather.
Q. How much will fuel cost?
A. Fuel costs are dependent on how you run the boat, and how big the waves are. How full you fill it with people and gear and how fast you drive. If you go around Devils Island you will have traveled over 60 miles offshore on a boat, boats only get 1-4 miles per gallon. The MIYC, who has the fuel dock, is a separate entity. $100 is a good start for a guess, $150 isnt abnormal.
Q. Can we go fishing?
A. I have a couple boats with down riggers. You must have a fishing licence, you can get it online. I am not a fisherman and I cannot offer much advise, I would recomend http://www.hookandfincharterco.com/ if you want to catch fish. In 3 years of rentals about a dozen people have tried fishing and only 1 caught a fish. Fishing Lake Superior is not easy as it is an oligotrophic lake or a lake that lacks nutrients, and so the Trout are running around a dessert basically. When people show up with bobbers I kinda laugh... Although if you go into Chequamegon Bay the fishery is more akin to the smaller bodies of waters many people are used to. Hence it was a northern someone caught in Chequamegon. I do not keep the down riggers on my boats so if you know about big lake fishing tell me and I can put them on the boat. I will include lost down rigger balls and broken fishing gear against the damage deposit.
Q. Can we water ski or tube?
A. For insurance reasons the answer is no. Also the National Park does not allow towing sports within 1/4 mile of the National Lake Shore. The water is 65 degrees on the warm side, 45 degrees if you go down 3-5 feet. Considering that only about 3 groups a year ask for this I cannot justify the large per boat insurance cost.
Q. Are dogs allowed?
A. Yes! Bring a harness or lifejacket so you can pull your dog out not by the collar. Also dogs count towards boat capacity, no full boats plus 2 dogs. And someone needs to be in charge of just holding dogs during docking, so no solo dog renters.
Q. Can we camp on the islands with our rental boat?
A. Yes but the only safe way to dock the boats over night is to use Presque Isle harbor on Stockton Island. Most multi day rentals bring the boat and leave it in my marina or The Pub Dock. Renting a dock slip at any marina is also ok. Also if you plan to camp I might let you go out in over 15 mph winds because I understand you need to get there, but if over 20mph winds I just cant in good conscious let you go. Normally all rentals are canceled in 15mph winds.
Q. How many people can fit on your boats?
A. This question scares me. Overloaded boats don't perform well, they are hard to dock, and as a Captain all my years I hated being at or near capacity. However each boat does have a capacity. But don't think of the Capacity as where the boat is happy, it is simply the max that if you go above the Coast Guard will tow you in. If you load up a boat to near capacity expect it to burn more fuel, splash and pound waves harder, and just be more sluggish. If you are at or near max capacity you cant pack a full cooler or bring as much gear. My largest people mover is my Rendezvous deck boat The Rendezvous, she has a capacity of 13 people or 1800 lbs legally. I only recommend and only allow 10 people now a days as just too many people pushed that limit too far. 1800 lbs means it assumed all 13 people average 138 lbs. I only allow 10 but that still assumes everyone is averaged to 180 lbs. This spring I will update the exact legal capacities of each boat and then I also will clarify a recomended capacity.
Q. Do you have just an hour rental?
A. Most people want to explore the islands which takes way more than an hour. So my larger boats are blocked at 4 hours as a minimum, but I do have a couple smaller boats that are rent able by the hour. A 1 hour rental is basically stay within sight also. The Piping Plover is the best if you just want to splash around for an hour as 1 tank of gas is included.
Q. Do you have Bimini covers for the boat?
A. The waves of Lake Superior broke the Bimini on Rendezvous a few days after we got it. Lake Superior chop just shakes soft tops apart. Or any time a human grabs it thinking it will hold them it breaks. The fact is I dont have biminis for the boats anymore.
Q. Do you have a pontoon?
A. I bought a flat bottom potoon boat. But on a calm day just in the bay it was splashing me. It has a ridiculous capacity, I am not sure what to do with it. It is not designed to explore Lake Superior on even a moderate day. Might make it the floating club house for the Harbor!
Q. Does our small child really count towards capacity? Infants?
A. I will agree with you it seem arbitrary, but the Coast Guard counts all people as 1 soul and being over capacity is something like a $700 fine per person over capacity. So No I cannot let you depart over capacity.
Q. Can you please Captain a Charter for us?
A. Last year I had a Captain who wont be back till half way through this summer, and I do so few Captained Charters with the rental bushiness going so well that I am not getting the additional insurance and licences from the park needed for Captaining charters. I don't trust anyone else to go over my float plan process so I have to be present to rent boats, and with out all the proper paperwork and insurances it is a $5000 fine for me to run charters. You can hire your own captain anytime you want and I will discount your rental if you do, but I am officially retired from Captained Charters.
Q. Can we drive the boat into the caves?
A. I will not say yes to this question. Other people out there will; I have taken charters into the caves. When you rent the boat you are responsible for as if you own the boat. If the lake is glass calm you can get pretty close to the caves. But the caves are made of rocks, and rocks are the #1 cause of damage, and the worst part for me is telling the next person who reserved the boat that it is unavailable.