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A harsh winter leaves boat owners with long to-do list

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A long winter has pushed back the opening of McKinley Marina and it's having a trickle down effect on boat owners.

Kevin Hess and the co-owners of "Prospector" have been sitting for months, and they've waited long enough.

"April 15th we were in the water. So, we would normally be in the water now, I think last year it was 70 degrees," said Hess.

Every boat owner has a list, and for this crew: Hook up the batteries, repair the canvas, and wax the boat.

"What else is on the list... put air in the tires so we can get the boat to the water," said Hess.

The problem is, they still have to wait because the marina isn't open yet.

"With the harshness of the last winter that's not a major surprise," said Hess.

Peter Rieck runs the Milwaukee County Sailing Center, and the boats kept here will end up in the marina. Once that happens, he can also begin his list of summer programs.

"We have sailing for the general public in Milwaukee that can get involved with our organization. We do outreach programs for persons with disabilities
and we do outreach programs for low income children as well," said Rieck.

It's the same story at CenterPoint Yacht Service, but the longer the wait creates more time for repair orders.

"This day last year we would have been launching 10 or twelve boats, and we've seen our service business pick up because of the wait," said Rieck.

Dock owners say most people like to have their boats in the marina by Memorial Day, which gives them several weeks once McKinley Marina opens, on May 1st.

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