Busy season for boating business on Grand Lake

GRAND LAKE, Okla. — While it’s not officially the end of summer just yet, Labor Day typically marks the end of the summer vacation season.

Those who didn’t have to work on Monday took advantage of the gorgeous weather to soak up the sun and shore by boat on Grand Lake.

FOX23 sent a crew to Monkey Island to catch up with those determined to celebrate Labor Day on the water.

At the Shangri-La Resort there were still families out enjoying the last day of summer vacation on Grand Lake.

“It was a last second decision and we just really wanted to get together as a family as a whole and just spend one last day in the sun,” said boater Chase Drake who rented a Tritoon from the Sail Grand Waterfront.

With life jackets at the ready, he and his friends Krystal Ventris and Joshua Ditep headed out on the water Monday afternoon.

“Oh man there’s nothing like it the wind,” said Ventris. “The tubing’s a lot of fun.”

They’re in good company. The FOX23 crew went out on a Tritoon, their captain Ty Starks telling them the rentals are completely booked for Labor Day.

“This is the last big last holiday of the summer,” Starks explained. “People just want to get on the lake one last time.”

Mitch Whitehead who manages the marina at Shangri-La said it’s been a really good season:

“Our numbers are good,” he said. “They’re tracking better than last year and that’s good because the situation’s different people still have other activities they can go to but they’re still choosing Grand Lake and Shangri-La and Sail Grand.”

While the rental sales are not like they were the first couple of years during the pandemic when people were flocking to the Marina for rentals, Whitehead said those who experienced Grand Lake and Shangri-La for the first time because they couldn’t travel are coming back.

Overall it has been a very good season for the resort which also includes restaurants, a golf course, a hotel, and the indoor/outdoor Anchor activity center according to Mike Williams, the Director of Communications and Government Relations for the Shangri-La Resort.

“We’ve been absolutely completely booked at the resort hotel all summer long and its continuing, we’re pretty well booked through October this year,” Williams said. “Last summer was fantastic but this summer is better than last year.”

Williams said they’re setting records in everything, even in golf.

He said he thinks people are surprised, sometimes, to find that there’s this kind of facility in Oklahoma; he said that’s the comment he gets most frequently from first time guests.

FOX23 also reached out to Roger Pelcher, the Director of Operations with H2O Sports Rental which has locations on Monkey Island and in Grove. He remarked that their last two seasons have been record years, and that they added another eight boats this season.