March 22, 2017 - Residents and visitors will be able to rent equipment such as kayaks, boats and jet skis this summer, as part of the city's efforts to expand recreational access to the water. The company will also sell concessions and beach items.
City Council unanimously -- and with enthusiasm -- approved a lease with Virginia Bach Watersports, which operates similar rentals in Virginia Beach. Plans call for three sites:
- At Buckroe Beach, the company plans to offer jet skis (with lessons), paddle boards, and kayaks in the Chesapeake Bay.
- At Bluebird Gap Park, they plan kayaks, paddle boats and canoes for rent, along a wide area of Newmarket Creek.
- At Mill Point, 15-16 foot boats, jet skis, kayaks and paddle boards in the Hampton River. In future years, they hope to add jet ski tours to Fort Wool and across the bay.
The company, owned by Jeremy Churchill and Mike Walsh, had offered similar rentals for four years at First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach. They plan to open with concessions at Bluebird Gap on April 7. As the weather warms, they will bring out paddleboats, then other boats. Generally, they plan to open seven days a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with additional weekend hours in May, September and October.
Rates will vary -- from $10-$35 per hour for kayaks and canoes; to $89 per hour for jet skis; to more for all-day boat rentals. Initial plans are for three boats at Mill Point: 2 center-console fishing boats and a family-friendly pontoon boat. Staff will be authorized to issue one-day conditional use licenses after a 20-minute safety course.
"This is absolutely wonderful" said Mayor Donnie Tuck as he cast his vote.