Beach Bag mess

Evan

Member
I cannot understand why the NPS thinks they are solving a drilling and pinning problem by allowing pinning of bags. If these huge 75+ foot boats need to have 10 - 15 sand anchors it’s all part of the adventure. Or 30 or 40 beach bags all tied together. The PITA situation will self regulate length of boats anchoring in the future. Or they become relegated to the slip. Increase pinning violations to mandatory jail time. This country makes lots of money by locking people up.
 

drewsxmi

Escalante-Class Member
I cannot understand why the NPS thinks they are solving a drilling and pinning problem by allowing pinning of bags. If these huge 75+ foot boats need to have 10 - 15 sand anchors it’s all part of the adventure. Or 30 or 40 beach bags all tied together. The PITA situation will self regulate length of boats anchoring in the future. Or they become relegated to the slip. Increase pinning violations to mandatory jail time. This country makes lots of money by locking people up.
There are likely some who will disagree with this, but perhaps if a boat is so large that it requires pins drilled into sandstone to secure it, perhaps it is not appropriate for the Lake Powell environment, or maybe they should use the large numbers of sand anchors, or have fixed buoys at a few locations around the lake (offshore, so they don't have permanent reservations on the choice beaches). Dive boats for scuba diving started using mooring buoys to avoid damaging coral reefs by anchoring on them.

On the other hand, the shorelines of Lake Powell below full pool level are hardly a pristine environment, with sediment, trash, carved initials, sunken boats, quagga mussel shells, and so forth, so a few extra holes should not make that much difference. Obviously leaving the pins in place creates extra hazards, though.
 

JFRCalifornia

Escalante-Class Member
I think one clue into NPS's motive in trying to accommodate those larger boats with some sort of program like this and justifying selective pinning is revenue. Seems obvious. I'm a boat renter, not owner, and so I've been following that market for decades.

In 1992, there were only three sizes of houseboats you could rent - 36, 44 and 50 feet. None were luxurious. All had basic amenities, nothing more, but it was good enough. No air conditioning, not even swamp coolers, very much more like camping or a very basic RV set up. Old welds, very basic small refrigerators, etc. And that was fine. And those boats were pretty cheap.

Over the years, they upgraded the amenities, but mostly, they greatly increased the size of the boats they rented. And the overall quality of the boats. And charged a lot more for them. I imagine they were responding to the market, but they were also trying to draw customers with more money, and yes, the market was there. First it was 53-footers in the late 90s, eventually boats larger than that, and one day they introduced the 75-foot Odyssey, so outsized it caused a double-take when you saw one. In the early 2000s, we still rented the smallest boats they had (which were still cheap), but we noticed that they would start to cannibalize those boats for parts (like mattresses, or stereo equipment) to put on the larger boats when one of those large boats had a problem. Aramark admitted as much when I had conversations with their rental staff when a problem arose on our smaller boats. Again, they were cultivating or responding to a luxury market. The one with lots of extra money.

In the past ten years or so, the smaller boats have fallen into a state of uneven repair (very hit and miss), and though I can't speak about the bigger boats, I imagine those are doing somewhat better. In any case, the rental fleet now includes a much larger proportion of larger boats than it ever did in the past, and by that I mean boats over 60 feet long.

Today, a 75-foot rental in peak season costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $13,000 per week. A 46-foot "economy" boat (the smallest houseboat they now rent) can be had for under $3,000/week, less than that outside of peak season. So it is very much in NPS/Aramark's interest to rent as many of those 75-footers as possible, which means they need places for those to camp. Which leads to things like beach bags, and blind eyes to consistent pinning practices.

There is a market for those huge boats, of course. People rent what they want, and obviously NPS is trying to accommodate them. But I never thought Lake Powell was a good place for those behemoths, because the best places to camp (very small nooks and beaches among the slickrock domes) are not practical or even possible for those boats.

Maybe there's a good reason the rentals were all 50 feet or smaller three decades ago....
 

Ryan

Escalante-Class Member
I never thought Wayne’s Words would be a haven for class warfare, but here we are…..

Some observations.

First, I could be wrong, but I don’t think that NPS has any “skin in the game” regarding size of houseboat, either privately owned, or through Aramark.

In regards to “luxury” and size, it isn’t just houseboats that have changed. It’s pretty much everything. Long Gone are the days where you could buy a single cab truck with manual windows and door locks. Now the best selling trucks are 4 doors with leather seats, great sound systems, adaptive cruise, lane assist, the list goes on. Pretty easy to get a price north of $80k. And pretty difficult to find one for less than $40k.

And it isn’t just trucks. It’s difficult to get a basic vehicle of any kind. Do you know why? Sure profitability plays a role, but the bigger factor is that is what the buying public wants.

Same is true with houses. In the 60’s many houses were around 1000 square foot. 70s/80s the houses grew to 2000. Now it seems that 4000 + square foot is common. Because that’s what people want.

What about regular boats? In the 70’s it seems 18’ was common. Then they grew to 20. Then 23. Now 25’ bow riders are the norm. Fishing boats went from 16’ to over 20’ in todays market.

Why does anyone think houseboats would be different? And more importantly why does anyone think it’s their business to tell someone else what they should or can buy with their own money? Serious, give it a rest.

In regard to pinning, if it’s illegal it should be illegal for everyone. No special contacts.

But I’m also not sure why anyone would expect it to stop when like just about everything else at the lake there is virtually no enforcement by NPS.

In life you often get the behavior you allow. So if it’s important to someone to stop this, by all means reach out to NPS. But I sure wouldn’t expect anything to change if all people are doing is getting all worked up and venting their frustrations on this site.

And finally, in regard to the 75’ boats, I am a partner on one. I’m very intrigued by the bags, but they are not worth the rental cost to me. So we will continue securing our boat like we have for over 40 years. With ropes around boulders. No pinning required.
 

Evan

Member
This issue has nothing to do with class warfare. I don’t have the problem with 75 foot boats. I have a problem with the mentality that you can damage a resource to accommodate your huge boat without doing any work of digging in your anchors or finding boulders to tie to. We live in America. Why not a have a 125 foot yacht and crew of 20 to 30 people to anchor them. Who cares, as long as you don’t leave any trace of your trip on the beach!!
 

Boat 405

Member
You leave stuff on the beach like these bags. They will be considered abandoned, deflated and stacked up. Won't give it a second thought. 40 years at Powell and it has always had its ups and downs. When the economy is good, the lake is flooded with people. When the economy is in the dumps the lake is empty. Saw it in the early 90s it was empty, the ramped back in until 2009-2012 very empty. It's been on the uptick since then peaking in 2020 for obvious reasons. In the 1980's, it was 16 months in advance to get a house boat reservation. Stateline launch ramp was always full and the party scene in Oak canyon was nuts, makes anything you see today child's play.
 
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