Boaters revving up for spring season

Glen Martin, Tellico Cruising Club commander, inspects his boat at Tanasi Golf Course as Linda Knecht, TCC Juliet’s captain, observes.

With warmer temperatures arriving and COVID-19 numbers beginning to dip locally, boaters are starting to get back out and enjoy the beautiful waterway resources Tellico Village has to offer.

Glen Martin, Cruising Club commander, said Villagers are excited to hit the water, but boater safety needs to be emphasized.

“I think people are anxious to get out but as far as boating is concerned, I think people need to take their normal precautions in the springtime,” he said. “Be careful to give your boat a good inspection and get it ready, and get yourself ready for being out. Whether it’s don’t get sunburnt or don’t run out of gas, just be prepared. That’s the normal fare for normal springtime boating is you need to be careful, you need to make yourself aware of any changes whether it’s with the boat or the lake or any other regard. Safety is always of utmost importance.”

The Tellico Cruising Club was one of several groups in the Village affected last year by the pandemic.

“Last year it impacted us concerning indoor meetings like everyone else, but we also picked up more members than normal for the entire year,” Martin said. “We think due to the fact as far as boating activities and getting out and boating together, we were able to gain some members in that regard. We did restrict during the time of the year when there was extreme emphasis statewide of reducing contact. As far as boating and tying up activities, we did restrict intermingling from boat to boat. People were able to survive through that and still socialize, even though they didn’t cross over from boat to boat.”

Boating was one of the few recreational activities Villagers were still able to enjoy throughout the year while maintaining social distance.

“What was sort of a blessing for us was sort of the fact that last year we were outside and on our boats, and we were still able to get together and did raft-offs,” John Manczko, Cruising Club first officer, said. “We were cautious and we weren’t on each other’s boats, but we were on the water. In that sense, it was almost back to normal. I think a lot of people were going out and buying boats or trying to buy boats because that was one of the few things they could do during the pandemic.”

The pandemic forced the club to miss numerous meetings for most of the year, but it returned to a normal schedule late in the fall.

The club is now back to holding regular meetings 6 p.m. every second Wednesday each month at the Tellico Village Yacht Club.

“We’re not seeing as many people in our general meetings as we have in the past, although not everybody is shying away,” Manczko said. “I think February was our first meeting of the year, and a lot of it is dependent on our (Tellico Village Property Owners Association) because they dictate how many people can be in the meeting spaces and things of that nature. We’re getting by.”

Thanks to gradually declining cases and the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, club members hope to return to a sense of normalcy as early as May.

Martin is excited to hold the annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony April 24 at the Yacht Club after canceling last year’s event due to the pandemic. The Rev. Ingrid Schalk, Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church pastor, will bless boats as they pass by the docks.

“We do have some plans for this year and have our normal events planned,” Martin said. “One thing would be the Blessing of the Fleet that we’ll be doing at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 24, and that’s an event that’s open to all boaters on Tellico Lake. We just ask that they contact us and let us know. She’ll bless the boats as they come by and trail and as I tell Ingrid Schalk, it’s a serious but fun event for boaters.”

For more information about the club and upcoming events, visit online at http://tellicocruisingclub.com/.