Officials tour Caroga Lake, marina

Owner of the Caroga Lake Marina and Store Karl Ziemann gave members of the Fulton County Center of Regional Growth and local community leaders a tour of Caroga Lake in one of his pontoon boats on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

CAROGA — The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth and community business leaders took a relaxing boat tour around Caroga Lake on Tuesday as they learned what it’s like to run the Caroga Lake Marina and Store.

Owner of the marina, Karl Ziemann and his son, Daniel Ziemann led the CRG’s monthly business tour that included the store and boat storage facility.

“We don’t sell marina products, we sell convenience,” Karl Ziemann said. “If you want your boat to be picked up in the fall, winterized, stored, brought back to your dock, cleaned, all those small things repaired with a full tank of gas and the battery charged, you can deal with us.”

The Caroga Lake Marina and Store sells all the day-to-day boating necessities such as bait, tackle, boating supplies, life jackets, clothing, snacks and Adirondack souvenirs.

The marina and store also sells or rents tubes, wakeboards, waterskis, kayaks and paddle boards. All rentals include a life vest.

Some services and sales the marina and store offers include new and refurbished boats, used boats, boat cleaning and detailing, winterizing and storage and boat remodels.

“So we bought this marina 10 years ago and we opened the store nine years ago,” said Karl Ziemann. “There were 18 boats docked here when we bought the marina, there’s 31 now.”

The Caroga Marina and Store are authorized dealers for Bentley Boats, Suzuki Motors, Pelican Kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.

Karl Ziemann said the cost of the pontoon boats starts at $22,000 and goes up to $40,000. He said price depends on size and accessories on the boat.

“This year Dan and I bought 12 brand new Bently Pontoon boats and sold all 12 of them,” Karl Ziemann said. “We sold most of the trade-ins we got. We have three trade-ins left to sell.”

Karl and Daniel Ziemann also run a storage facility in Pine Lake next to Pine Lake Stoves and the Pine Lake Campground. Ziemann said they can store up to 100 boats inside the storage facility along with jet skis, paddle boards and kayaks. Inside the large storage pace, they stack boats on steel beams which make it possible to fit the 100 boats in.

“We have a building up at Pine Lake where we can store close to 100 boats indoors,” Karl Ziemann said. “We’re renting more steel this year, so there will be five more boats indoors this year.”

He recently had an extension built that can hold 20 boats in which the CRG helped with financing.

“We really appreciate the cooperation we’ve had from Fulton County [CRG],” Karl Ziemann said. “We bought the marina with no financing, we’ve built this extension with no financing and we’ve been putting everything back into the marina for the growth. You think you know what everyone wants to buy, but you quickly learn that you know very little.”

Sept. 1 is the start date for de-winterizing boats and storing boats. Karl Ziemann said last year the marina winterized 166 boats.

He said there are two other marinas in the area that have a 40-year head start in the marina business, but his marina is catching up quickly.

Each year, the marina hosts the polar plunge. This year, 150 people went into freezing cold water and raised $3,000 for the new fire house.

“It’s an event that is important to the town and [Karl] has done everything to stimulate it and make it continue,” Caroga Supervisor James Selmser said.

By Patricia Older

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