Electric boat rental business offering intimate view of Duluth harbor

By KBJR News 1

July 19, 2014 Updated Jul 19, 2014 at 6:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Bob Gabres makes people happy by renting them boats. He works at Canal Park Boat Rental.

There, you can skipper your own electric motored boat around the Duluth and Superior harbors.

"There's so much to see; a lot of wildlife and if you're into the history of the harbor," said Gabres, "you can see all the industrial changes that have occurred through the years."

This rental business is the idea of Tom Althaus.

He refurbished a pair of old 18 foot fishing boats by giving them wood trim and installing electric outboards that run five hours on a charge.
Renters get lessons on boating safety before being set loose to explore.

"And we warn them that we're the small fish in the pond so you got to give everybody right of way," said Gabres.

Canal Park Boat Rental has been in business for two years. Bob Gabres reports business is booming with tourists, and locals are now catching on, too.

"It's the easiest access you can imagine to get out in the harbor, you know," said Gabres, "without owning your own boat."

Gabres also says few would–be sailors ever come back to the dock without smiles on their faces.

"Almost everybody when they come back is like, 'ahhh, that was so great to be out there,'" laughed Gabres.

Canal Park Boat Rental also has a gas powered pontoon boat for hire.

Since it is bigger and faster, it's recommended for more experienced boaters.

Dave Anderson