Full Hartwell lifts area boat sales


A couple and their dog walk toward docked boats at Portman Marina Saturday morning. Boat sales and storage slips in the area are better when Hartwell's level is high, say area marinas. For Hartwell Lake, www.lakelevels.info reported on Saturday June 24, 2016 water level at 658.24 feet, 1.76 below the full pool of 660 feet.


Boats are docked at Portman Marina Saturday morning. Boat sales and storage slips in the area are better when Hartwell's level is high, say area marinas. For Hartwell Lake, www.lakelevels.info reported on Saturday June 24, 2016 water level at 658.24 feet, 1.76 below the full pool of 660 feet.


A small boat slowly moves into the Portman Marina Saturday morning. Boat sales and storage slips in the area are better when Hartwell's level is high, say area marinas. For Hartwell Lake, www.lakelevels.info reported on Saturday June 24, 2016 water level at 658.24 feet, 1.76 below the full pool of 660 feet.


A small boat slowly moves into the Portman Marina Saturday morning. Boat sales and storage slips in the area are better when Hartwell's level is high, say area marinas. For Hartwell Lake, www.lakelevels.info reported on Saturday June 24, 2016 water level at 658.24 feet, 1.76 below the full pool of 660 feet.

By Abe Hardesty of the Independent Mail

Jane W. Davis looked at Lake Hartwell Friday morning and reveled at what she didn’t see.

“There’s no red shoreline,” said Davis, co-owner of 33-year-old Big Water Marina near Starr, referring to the clay that is exposed when Hartwell’s level drops.

“I don’t want to say anything to jinx it, but I’m very happy that Hartwell’s level is high.”

For Davis and others whose livelihood is linked to the 56,000 acres of water near Anderson, the lake elevation typically determines boat sales and the use of boat storage slips.

“When Hartwell is full, people feel better about using their boat. And the more often they come to the lake, the more they think about buying a boat,” said Davis, whose marina is located about two miles north of Hartwell Dam.

“The last two years, we’ve been at full pool, and things have been busy on the lake,” she said, noting that sales are up dramatically in comparison to the dry years of 2011 and 2012 and the rain-soaked summer of 2013.

Hartwell’s level stood at 658.6 feet above mean sea level Friday, its lowest point since mid-February but nonetheless close enough to full pool (660 feet) to make it an attractive destination for those who own or rent boats.

The lake was nine feet below full pool (651 feet) at the start of 2011, 16 feet below full pool (644 feet) at the outset of 2012, and 15 feet low (645 feet) in January 2013.

For most of 2016, the lake has been at or above full pool.

“When the water is up, we’re selling boats,” said Leroy Long at Long’s Marine Center.

From the other side of the lake, Hartwell Marina owner Brant Tew sees the same trend.

“A few years ago, someone at Clemson did a study that concluded that the lake level here had nothing to do with the boating industry. I think it has everything to do with it,” Twe said Friday. As long as the water level is stable, even if it’s not quite at full pool, business is up. If it’s not, people stay away.”

Tew said he’s been “seeing a lot more boat traffic and interest” since Hartwell reached full pool level in 2013, when the area endured one of its coolest and wettest summers. Boat sales are up significantly from the low-level years of 2011 and 2012.

“In this business, you want it to rain during the week and stay sunny on the weekends,” Tew said.

Friday’s 658.6-foot level is ideal for this time of the year, Tew said.

“The lake is supposed to fluctuate by three to four feet a year,” he said. “It’s not supposed to be slap full all summer. Those years when it was down 15 feet, people don’t want to be boating. Once it gets down by 10 feet, people should be concerned.”

An unusually wet winter is helping the current lake level.

“Those rains more than filled the reservoirs and saturated soils to capacity,” Billy Birdwell, a spokesman for the Savannah District of the Army Corps of Engineers, said Friday.

“Although spring rainfall has been below normal, inflows remained high for much of the spring because of the saturated soils,” he said. “Although we are seeing indicators the ground is dry, our professional water managers continue to maintain stable levels as much as possible by using the pump-back capability at Russell Dam.”

“As of today, all Corps reservoirs on the Savannah River are less than 2 feet down from full summer pool,” Birdwell said. “That’s very good considering the months of low rainfall we have experienced. We predict the reservoirs will have plenty of water for the long Independence Day weekend for recreation.”

Follow Abe Hardesty on Twitter @abe_hardesty


Similar news:
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>