Boating Club Enjoying Summer on Grand Lake

Staff Writer

With a rich history that goes back to 1948, the St. Marys Boat Club has had quite the presence on Grand Lake St. Marys.

“It originally started very much as a power boat club,” said Commodore of the club, Phil Fuerst, who joined the club eight years ago. “These were boats that seemed to have more engine than boat and more luck than sense. My guess is a lot of the guys coming back from World War II were used to working with engines and lots of power and that’s what they did.”

Fuerst, who said he’s studied the history of the club because he wanted to know where they’ve been so he can know where they’re going in the future, said the club started to see a transition from power boats to sailboats in the early 1960s, whereas now sailboats are the most popular.

In the 1960s and 70s, the club saw a rise of Lightning boats and they would hold regional races for them with people from various lakes attending. Fuerst said there would be as many as 60 Lightning boats racing during these times.

The St. Marys Boat Club started honor club champions in 1964, a tradition that is still alive today. 

Fuerst said the club holds races every Saturday that start at 11 a.m., but boaters are encouraged to attend the captain’s meeting beforehand that begins at 10 a.m.

“We talk about the wind conditions and any safety concerns,” he said. 

The Triangle Race is the most common race and it is set up at the east end of the lake.  

Once a month on Sundays they run what’s called the Rock Pile race. 

The boat club welcomes any kind of boat. 

“The club is trying to be something a lot of people can get involved in, regardless of what their interests are,” said Fuerst.

New members will pay a $150 initiation fee and then $200 in annual dues. Fuerst said he’s checked prices of other boat clubs around, saying that the St. Marys Boat Club is “one of the best bargains out there.”

The club is more than just boating and racing as they have an active social calendar, holding many special and holiday events as well as providing public services for the area with the last few years being focused on local scouting programs.