If the thought of spending the day on the water makes your boat float, but you don’t have a canoe to paddle, Jeff Durbin can help.
The owner of the new North Sterling Boat Charter and Rental says he has owned a boat his entire life. But he wasn’t looking to make a profession of it, until last summer when Jim Fix, the owner of PJ Marina, which opened in North Sterling State Park last year, told him he had generated a lot of interest from customers looking to hire the Durbin pontoon boat docked at the park.
“At the end of the year Jim and I had a conversation and he offered me the opportunity to come on board regarding the boat rental, and he would run the marina,” said Durbin. “It was from there that it blossomed.
Durbin said as he nears retirement from his career as a principal, the business opportunity seemed like a good way to still have interactions with other people. The seasonal aspect – the business is open from May 1 to Labor Day – is also appealing. And that gives him a reason to spend time at the tank doing something he loves.
The company offers a number of different boats with a variety of rental prices, so there is something for everyone, Durbin said. Options range from a small fishing boat for two to a 24ft Party Barge pontoon boat that can accommodate up to 10 people. All rentals last a minimum of two hours, but can be up to eight hours. Durbin doesn’t offer powerboats or jet skis at this time, but is open to the possibility next year if the company’s first season is successful.
If you are not interested in driving the boat yourself, North Sterling Boat can also provide a captain for an additional charge. Or you can sign up for the weekly Sunset Cruise, which is offered Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. (weather permitting) at a cost of $ 50 per person. The North Sterling Reservoir tour includes a selection of delicacies while relaxing on the water and taking in the views of the surrounding cliffs and courses; bring your own drink of choice. Space is limited, so Durbin advises you to book early. He noted that the tour was recently filmed as part of a promotional video for Logan County funded by the Logan County Lodging Tax Board, the City of Sterling and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
Durbin said he chose to match his hours of operation to those of the marina; it is open on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. But private parties can rent a boat for any day of the week by prior reservation.
So far, Durbin said the new boat rental business is off to a good start. He enjoys working with the park wardens as well as with Jim Fix and his wife Patty at the marina. “It has been a good fit for all of us,” he said.
Inside PJ Marina, park visitors can find just about anything they need to enjoy their time in North Sterling. Camping gear, cooking gear, food items, water recreation equipment, and even adult drinks are available in the store. Fix said if a client wants something they don’t have and is willing to wait for Patty to quit her job at Sterling Correctional Facility, she can bring it with her.
Fix has an employee, and he’s happy to team up with Durbin, who has offered to take over the marina if Fix decides to pull out of the business.
Together, the two companies add the necessary services to the park and make it more attractive to visitors. And this effort does not go unnoticed, says Durbin. He believes that more and more people in the Front Range area are learning about North Sterling and the amenities it offers, with the added benefit of a shorter commute than driving to McConaughy Lake in Nebraska. .
Durbin is offering special rates for Father’s Day bookings and said it still has rentals available for July 4.
For more information on North Sterling Boat Charter and Rental, call 970-520-9570, visit nsboatrental.com or like their Facebook page.