NEW BUFFALO — The 2020 boating season is beginning to show signs of life in New Buffalo.

Steve Ruszkowski of Oselka Marina was helping to get boats back into New Buffalo’s Harbor on Friday afternoon, May 15.

“Things are going smoothly,” he said. “We’re using every ounce of caution that we can.”

Although slips in the harbor are beginning to fill up, there aren’t nearly as many boats back in the water as normal for mid-May. Ruszkowski said they are averaging about 6 to 8 boats per day as opposed to 11 or 12 before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

The coronavirus-based moratorium on motor boats in Michigan that ended in late April pushed the start of the season back.

“The weather’s been a big factor, and it’s not a normal world right now so people are practicing extreme caution,” Ruszkowski said.

Patty Krum, interim manager at the Moorings, said boats are going back into the water and boaters seem ready to get out there.

“I’ve been extremely busy today,” she said on Saturday, May 16.

Although the D and E docks are still largely flooded due to high waters in the harbor, Krum said some will still have boats since they are accessible by smaller vessels.

According to the City of New Buffalo’s website, the local harbor has more than 950 boat slips: 921 seasonal marina and condo association slips, 32 transient-public slips, 13 under construction for The Peninsula, and several up-river private slips.

According to a 2010 U.S. Army Corp of Engineers New Buffalo Harbor Fact Sheet, the harbor generates an estimated $7.7 million in revenue throughout the area, which supports 130 jobs, and those jobs generate $2.5 million annually in labor income.

The city has a Boat Launch facility at 201 Marquette Drive, and a 32-slip Transient Marina at at 100 W. Water St. which is currently undergoing upgrades to its docks to accommodate high-water levels.

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