Boating at the Chain O’Lakes are big during staycations

WGN Weekend Morning News

ANTIOCH, Ill. — Because of the pandemic, staycations are big this year.

Thousands of people are flocking to the Chain O’Lakes this holiday weekend, and if you go, you’ll need a boat.

Boat sales at Skipper Buds on the Chain O’ Lakes is booming this summer. It’s a way to get together with family and friends and still stay safe.

“We have seen such a pent-up demand,” Brennan Ungrodt, sales manager, said. “We have just had an influx of new boaters of people upgrading their boats.”

Difficult times right now means people are having more staycations. They want to get out in the sun, get on the water, wakeboard, water ski, or just take a dip.

“So one of the unique features of our marina is you can camp. You have a drive up slip, cabana, socially distance and still have a good time,” Betsey Arvai, marketing director, said.

In the showroom, you can pick a master craft. But they’re going fast. There’s lots of time and nowhere to go.

“People have the budget and they’re not traveling. They have time, kids aren’t in sports. They’re not going on vacation concerts or festivals,” Ungrodt said.

The pandemic has pushed sales for first time boaters. If you don’t want to buy, you can always rent one.

“It’s got to make them happy. You know what the environment in our marina over the last several weeks with the good weather has been amazing,” Brennan said.

We don’t have many warm, sunny days in Chicago — it’s a very short window. So the saying here is, “Whatever floats your boat.”

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