Marine News from the Great Lakes

Catawba Island Club and Marina

Published: Tuesday, September 1, 2020

A short drive from Cleveland or Toledo and just six miles south of the famous Bass Islands is one of the best kept secrets on the Great Lakes—Catawba Island Club and Marina. Founded to be a sportsmen’s haven with a focus on family, CIC’s roots date back to the powerboating surge of the late 1920s. In the more modern era—over the last 50-plus years—Catawba Island Club has become a mecca for lakeside living and recreation.

The north coast, mid-Ohio region has deep roots in the boating industry. The proximity to the Lake Erie Islands—Put-in-Bay, Kelleys, and Leamington—has long made the area the chosen destination for boating families coming from Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus, and as far away as Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The shallow, warmer waters of the western basin with its world-class fishing continues to bring anglers from across the midwest.

The Club

For nearly a century, the focus has been on creating a diverse and interconnected community of amenities and people. The Catawba Island Club “campus,” as many of the members and residents call it, is the complete package. With most of the adjacent communities linked through biking and walking trails and cart paths, members have the freedom to leave their cars in the garage once they arrive. Daily activities for members are varied and abundant, including convenient access to their boats, the golf course or tennis courts, bars, restaurants, and shopping—all without leaving “campus.”

The heart of it all is a 320-slip marina that is well protected and enjoys direct access to Lake Erie. The main part of the Club stretches along an almost 1000-foot peninsula between the marina and Lake Erie shoreline. This stretch is lined with a boardwalk, dotted with numerous firepits and various food and beverage outlets, and includes multiple options for lakeside dining. Boat access to the lake is a pleasant, short ride and it is common to receive friendly waves from other boaters or from those picnicking and spending time on the lawns that surround the pool facility and beachfront.

Capable of handling vessels up to 130 feet, the marina is a rare jewel along Ohio’s north coast. A short walk from any slip gives boaters access to multiple recreation activities and resources. In 2020, CIC installed over 500-feet of new dockage capacity. The planned 2021 improvements include additional docks, all with state-of-the-art electrical systems, as well as modern salon-style shower and restroom facilities specifically designed for boaters.

The Professionals

The marina and its amenities are first rate and the main attraction, but it is the marine service team that keeps boaters on the water. Starting with two employees in the early 1980s, Catawba Island Club’s Marine Service Operation has grown to over thirty professionals, providing services such as dry stack, expansive heated storage, engine repair, electronics, and hull repair on fiberglass, wood, and aluminum.

Over the last 10 years, the Club has seen incredible progress in the technology installed in boats. The days of boat owners having the patience, and more importantly the time, to work on their boat are long gone! With great consistency through the years, CIC boaters have developed confidence that their needs, both routine and unexpected, will be addressed quickly, cheerfully, and competently. The staff knows Lake Erie summers are short, and they want CIC boaters enjoying every minute possible on the water.

While there are plenty of beautiful yachts moored in the marina, which attracts significant attention, many boaters prefer to keep their vessels “high and dry” when not on the water. The CIC Marina operates a 12-hours per day, 7-days per week dry-stack rack operation; and continues to grow their capabilities. This year, CIC added two 80-foot rack docks and a new forklift capable of moving 18,000-pounds, which complements the two forklifts already in operation and allows the marina to accommodate any vessel ranging from a jet ski to a 33’ center console.

Beyond the Boating Season

The work does not end in the off-season. The Catawba Island Marina offers more than 200,000 square feet of marine storage, the majority of which is heated. Two travel lifts capable of up to 70-tons are complimented by a 100-ton hydraulic Conolift, and a deep water lift well makes CIC the preferred service center for bigger boats and those with unique needs. Throughout the winter months and prior to the hectic annual spring launch schedule, the service department completes many work orders, including refinishings and major engine overhauls.

For those looking for a more hands-on storage experience, a new series of boat storage condos recently broke ground in July 2020. This style of building has become very popular in the industry, as the multi-use space combination is perfect for tinkerers and hobbyists.

The primary goal at Catawba Island Club is to provide their members with the confidence that when they leave the dock for a day on the lake with their families, their vessels will operate reliably and safely. At the heart of being a boat owner is having confidence in the overall experience, including safety, and at CIC, their boaters know that when their boat is launched in the spring, and every time it leaves the dock, the technology under their feet will be operating safely.

Make no mistake though, beyond the facilities and the amazing staff, it is certainly the people that make the Catawba Island Club special. Catawba Island Club is the site of an ongoing and ever-growing family reunion. The CIC family is vast and varied, encompassing members of exceptionally diverse backgrounds from far across the Great Lakes region and beyond. While watching the nightly magic of the sun dropping into Lake Erie, there is a collective, grateful sigh as those present reflect on their good fortune to be a part of the CIC family.

The beauty of the natural setting, the generous array of amenities, the attention to detail, impeccable service, fabulous food, friendly staff, and a continual evolution to please new generations of members—these things are a given at CIC. Rarely in one package anywhere can someone find the combination of these club amenities that are offered at CIC.

The people who dedicate themselves to the experiences of CIC members are a unique and talented group. They consistently and happily anticipate member needs. They act with true pride of place, and comprise the Club’s essential ingredient.

For more information about the Catawba Island Club lifestyle or for information regarding marine services and dockage, please contact Matthew Stouffer at [email protected] or visit today.

This article first appeared in the Fall Issue (Sep/Oct) 2020 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Destination

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