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Motorboat Ban in Yates, Schuyler Counties Causing Drop in Lake Business

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Motorboat Ban in Yates, Schuyler Counties Causing Drop in Lake Business
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BRANCHPORT, N.Y. — Businesses around the Finger Lakes region were ready for thousands of tourists this Memorial Day weekend, but some establishments are floundering as a result of a local ban.

In both Steuben and Yates counties, the sheriff's have banned recreational motorized boating on Keuka Lake. The move comes after the heavy rainfall and flooding earlier this month. Police said dock parts and other debris currently floating in the water are dangerous to boaters.

At Basin Park Marina, docks remain under water and some are broken - evidence of a brutal storm.

“According to the marina owner, he said it was so many logs and trees and debris in the water that you could literally walk on the water,” said Sandy Gaulocher, who is visiting from Buffalo.

While John Wheeler, the marina owner, said he understands the risks of boating at this time, business is shallow because of the restriction.

There's people waiting to rent boats. We've had to turn away renters, we had to cancel contracts. It's disappointing for a lot of people. It's Memorial Day Weekend,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler said on a typical Memorial Day Weekend, they could make about $10,000 from motorboat rentals.

“It's unfortunate for the people who own marinas and sell gas and make their living in a short summer season,” said Peter Rodgers, who is visiting from Rochester.

Despite the setback, businesses are looking ahead.

“We just hope for dry weather for the next couple of weeks,” said Wheeler.

The ban will remain in place until further notice, which is alright by people kayaking, like Richard Duda.

“It's nice kayaking now because you don't have boats running up and down," said Duda, a tourist.

According to the Yates County Sheriff's Office, Keuka Lake peaked at 715.7 feet above sea level on May 16. The normal height for this time of year is about 714 feet. Authorities say the lake is gradually receding.

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