TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – After months of watching their boats sit perched on top of cinder blocks, Westchester boaters are itching to hit the open water.
While the normal spring anticipation of the upcoming boating season has been mounting, many say this year they are even more eager to get on the Hudson River after a hurricane and pair of sewage spills cut last season short.
“The conditions of river at the end of last season put a damper on the season,” said Tom Andrus, president of Sleepy Hollow’s Philipse Manor Beach Club. “People began looking forward to this year very early on.”
While some river-goers got a head start on the season, launching their boats when the docks were set in April, many won’t get on the Hudson until mid-May. By Memorial Day, most of the docking stations in the Rivertowns' boating clubs will be full, directors say, and boaters will be going up and down the river.
“This is a really exciting time of the year,” said John Nadasi, Rear Commodore of the Tarrytown Boat and Yacht Club. “We are in scramble mode, getting the boats ready and getting people excited about boating.”
Last year, boaters and swimmers were on dry land earlier than usual after Hurricane Irene scattered debris throughout the Hudson River and a pair of sewage leaks dumped millions of gallons of wastewater into the river.
While Westchester Riverkepers and county health officials have yet to publish any water testing results this season, boaters agree the water is as good as ever.
“All of murkiness and brownness from last fall is gone and was gone within about two or three months,” said Ossining Boat and Canoe Club Commodore Tom Earle. “We forgot all about it. We’re not even worried about it.”
It’s not all clear sailing for the captains and their vessels. With gas prices approaching $5 per gallon, boaters can end up pumping $1,000 to $2,000 worth of fuel into their boats during the course of the season, Nadasi said.
“It’s a costly hobby,” he said. “But we try not to worry about the gas prices.”
Instead, Nadasi and his crew focused on prepping the 35 boats still resting in the club’s parking lot for re-entry into the water. Westchester is the perfect place for boating, he said, standing on the dock with the Tappan Zee Bridge in the background.
“This is one of the most beautiful areas around,” Nadasi said. “Up and down the river it’s scenic and there’s a lot of history.”