Rockvam Boat Club FAQ's

The BIG LIST... of lots of questions...  you might have at 3:00AM... as you are shopping for information about the Rockvam Boat Club. (You can still read it even if it's not 3:00am)

PS:  Request boat club pricing information with this form

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GENERAL QUESTIONS:

* repeat questions

What is a boat club?  Is it a new concept?

Boat clubs are similar to time share rentals.  You pay one flat rate and then have access to the fleet of boats.  You do not have the responsibilities of ownership such as; storage, dockage, annual service, winterizing.  At the end of the season you also do not have a commitment to boating and can simply stop, although we hope the boat club is an entry point to a new free time activity!

How do I become a member of the Rockvam Boat Club?

Stop in our Ship's Store and fill out a contract or call us at 952-471-9515 and we can take a deposit over the phone and mail you a contract.

*Is it hard to tie up a boat?

The boats all have tie lines permanently attached to the boat.  If you ask our boat club conciergerie and they'll give you a brief run through on how to tie up a boat.

*What if we have an emergency on the water?
911 is available on all parts of the lake via your cell phone.  The lake is patrolled by the Hennepin County Water Patrol for emergencies.  The neighboring fire departments also have fire boats.  If you have an emergency, just call 911.  It's best to know where you are.  If a friend on your boat has a GPS/mapping feature on their phone have them open it to show your location.  If you do not know your location, give the 911 operator the color/style of your boat.  Also use specific landmarks you see, don't say trees and docks.  Water Towers are a great landmark, position of the sun, golf courses, bridges, etc.  "Boating courtesy" is part of the boating lifestyle.  If you see someone driving by - flag them down by waving your arms in distress.  Also, when you see the water patrol boat in the distance, make sure to wave your arms and keep waving them until they arrive at your boat.  Just because you see them does not mean they see you.  Also, stay calm and please call us to keep us informed.

*Do we need to bring life jackets?
Nope.  All basic safety items to keep you legal on the waters will be provided including life jackets, cushion throw, fire extinguisher.

*Are there boating classes to take?
Yes, contact the Minnetonka Power Squadron for a variety of offerings.  Also, check out the ABC boating course (American Boating Council)

How old are the boats?
We consider the boats in our fleet a representation of our marina when they are on the water.  We want you to be proud to drive them.  The boats in our fleet are also just like your friend's boats.  This season we have a brand new pontoon boat!  So our fleet is from zero to 20 years old... they are in great shape.  Come out and take a look.  That's the benefit of having our own repair shop.  We are able to use "priority service" scheduling in our repair shop to  keep them looking and running great!

Do I need a boat license?
Nope.  We recommend acquiring boating knowledge and there are courses available, but Minnesota does not have a watercraft requirement if you are over 18 years old.

*Are there things in the water that bite?

Sure!  But it's pretty rare.  There are fish with teeth such as muskies.  There are turtles with teeth like snapping turtles.  But the good news is, they normally leave you alone... no sharks or alligators!  If you step on a turtle it will bite you.  If you hang your foot over the edge of the boat with an anklet that sparkles in the sun... a musky will go after it just like a fishing lure.   More good news... Lake Minnetonka is a freshwater lake that is healthy, if there is a rare problem with the water quality it will be in the news.

Do you rent tubes?  Water toys for day?  Lilly Pad? Skis? Wake board or wake surfing stuff?

We do not... we have found that people would rather own their own tube so they know who has been laying/siting on it.  Here's the deal, when you buy one, we do have room in our warehouse to store it, that way you don't have to transport it to the lake and back every time you go on the boat.

Are you guys getting a fancy inboard ski boat?
As of now we are not.  The inboards are tricky.  We want to stay with the I/O's and outboards because they are easier to drive and less expensive to maintain.  We have found that more of the boat club users prefer the open bows that seat people.  They like tubing/skiing but would rather have a lower boat club rate vs. raising the rate for a high end inboard.

Can me and my friend join together?
We do not split memberships.  The reason we have a low membership rate is to make boating affordable for our users.  We are very concerned with our membership to boat ratio.  If a membership is split between people it affects the usage ratio. 

Can my kid drive the boat if I'm not there?
Nope.  Just the member and spouse are able to reserve and drive the boats.

Will kids be able to take boat out with friends?
Nope.  Just the member and spouse are able to reserve and drive the boats.  You sure can go with them... but we do not allow voyages without the member.

Are there member functions?
Starting in 2017 we will host a private/hidden Facebook group of boat club members.  This is where we'll be able to communicate with you about things going on around the lake or last minute availability!  If you haven't been invited in... ask!  We'll also have it linked on the Rockvam Boat Yards App (free online)


GASOLINE

How does the gas work?

The boats are full when they leave our dock.  You use the boat.  When you return to the dock the gas tank is topped off and you pay for what you've used.  We do accept all credit cards on our dock.

Will we run out of gas?
You should not run out of gas.  We have not had anyone run out of gas, yet...

Why can we only buy gas at Rockvam's?
It's the point of your start and finish.  It's also that we sell "boat gas" which is 89 Octane, Ethanol Free, Non-Oxygenated.  Not all fueling stations on the lake sell this quality.  If you mix this gas with standard "car" gasoline it is bad.  There are a number of reasons, most important is the ethanol is harsh on rubber in a boat engines. 
 
How much gas do you normally use on typical boat club outing?
Tough Question.  There are a number of factors that come into play.  You have factors of the boat:  size of engine, how many people are on board, how much weight from gear.  Next you have weather factors:  Temperature and humidity along with wind and waves.   The final factor is driving; when you stop to swim you are using zero gas, when you cruise slow you use less gas, if you drive wide open you're going through a whole bunch of gas!   So if you have a hot/humid/windy day on a large engine boat with 10 people and gear you will go through much more gas than using the pontoon boat that is cruising along.  The pontoon boat is the most fuel efficient boat since the motors are 4-strokes.  But if you are looking for a range, the 2016 season saw as little as $10 for pontoons and $80 for big engine boats.  Average was around $42.



SAFETY
* repeat questions

*Is it hard to drive a boat?

Driving the boat is easy, docking the boat is where you need some confidence and skill.   There are courses offered through the Minnetonka Power Squadron.  One of the best ways to become better at docking is to come out and practice.  It is not dumb or stupid to reserve a boat and come out and practice.  Reserve a smaller boat on a weekday evening and just come out and go in and out of the slips.  Then go out on the open water and get used to handling the boat.  Pontoons drive differently from runabouts because they catch the wind faster.  Again, practice.  Ask our staff for some helpful hints.

*How do you tie up a boat?
The boats all have tie lines permanently attached to the boat.  If you ask our boat club conciergerie and they'll give you a brief run through on how to tie up a boat.

*What if we have an emergency on the water?
911 is available on all parts of the lake via your cell phone.  The lake is patrolled by the Hennepin County Water Patrol for emergencies.  The neighboring fire departments also have fire boats.  If you have an emergency, just call 911.  It's best to know where you are.  If a friend on you boat has a GPS/mapping feature on their phone have them open it to show your location.  If you do not know your location, give the 911 operator the color/style of your boat.  Also use specific landmarks you see, don't say trees and docks.  Water Towers are a great landmark, position of the sun, golf courses, bridges, etc.  "Boating courtesy" is part of the boating lifestyle.  If you see someone driving by - flag them down by waving your arms in distress.  Also, when you see the water patrol boat in the distance, make sure to wave your arms and keep waving them until they arrive at your boat.  Just because you see them does not mean they see you.  Also, stay calm and please call us to keep us informed.

*Do we need to bring life jackets?
Nope.  All basic safety items to keep you legal on the waters will be provided including life jackets, cushion throw, fire extinguisher.

*Are there boating classes to take?
Yes, contact the Minnetonka Power Squadron for a variety of offerings.  Also, check out the ABC boating course (American Boating Council)

*Are there things in the water that bite?
Sure!  But it's pretty rare.  There are fish with teeth such as muskies.  There are turtles with teeth like snapping turtles.  But the good news is, they normally leave you alone... no sharks or alligators!  If you step on a turtle it will bite you.  If you hang your foot over the edge of the boat with an anklet that sparkles in the sun... a musky will go after it just like a fishing lure.   More good news... Lake Minnetonka is a freshwater lake that is healthy, if there is a rare problem with the water quality it will be in the news.

What happens if we break down? If the boat is not working/turning on, what do I do? Who do I call?
We hope that doesn't happen.  We do routine maintenance weekly to help prevent a malfunction of the engine.  But if something happens, just call us at 952-471-9515.   Sometimes we can diagnose the problem over the phone and could be as simple as the safety lanyard laying on the floor preventing the boat from starting.

What if we damage a boat?
No one sets out to damage the boat, but accidents occur.  The boat club member is responsible for the first $1,500 dollars of damage per incident.  After that our insurance kicks in.  The most common form of damage is the propeller.  While the lake is well marked, there are underwater obstructions such as rocks or drift wood.  Propellers generally cost around $350 to repair.  Before you go on the water you will be asked to "feel" the propeller, this is to make sure you have checked the prop prior to the start of your cruise.  We want to make sure the prop is always in good condition.  Props that have damage, even minor, create a wobble which is similar to a car's wheels being out of balance or alignment.  This wobble can affect the internal gears.  Therefore, we watch props close. 

If it's raining or storming can I still go out?  Do I have to come back?
You have to use your best judgement.  There are time we can see a storm approaching via the sky or radar and we won't let the boat leave.  We are an inland body of water and do not require a log plan.  You don't have to file that you're heading to point A or point B - but guess what... when storms are brewing we like to know where you are!  As a courtesy, please call us and let us know you're on your way, or you've pulled into a dock, just let us know you're safe.

What do the bouys mean?
Bouy's are floating navigational signals on the lake.  They mark your navigational path.  You'll see them marking the channel, rock pile or points of land.  We recommend picking up a boating guide from the Minnesota DNR to get a full understanding of the system.  But when they teach kids basic navigation they use the phrase, "Red and Green in between... Black and White out of sight"  Red and green bouys mark channels so you want to stay in between and black/white stripe bouys are marking a hazard like a rock pile or land point so you need to go around them. 
 
Do we have kids / children's life jackets?
Of course.  We provide all of the basic safety equipment.  We don't necessarily have the most fashionable options, but we do make you legal.


BASIC INFO ABOUT OUR BOAT FLEET
* repeat questions


*Are there boating classes to take?
Yes, contact the Minnetonka Power Squadron for a variety of offerings.  Also, check out the ABC boating course (American Boating Council)

*How do you tie up a boat?
The boats all have tie lines permanently attached to the boat.  If you ask our boat club conciergerie and they'll give you a brief run through on how to tie up a boat.

*Am I responsible for the prop?
Yes.  Just remember... no one sets out to damage the boat, but accidents occur.  The boat club member is responsible for the first $1,500 dollars of damage per incident.  After that our insurance kicks in.  The most common form of damage is the propeller.  While the lake is well marked, there are underwater obstructions such as rocks or drift wood.  Propellers generally cost around $350 to repair.  Before you go on the water you will be asked to "feel" the propeller, this is to make sure you have checked the prop prior to the start of your cruise.  We want to make sure the prop is always in good condition.  Props that have damage, even minor, create a wobble which is similar to a car's wheels being out of balance or alignment.  This wobble can affect the internal gears.  Therefore, we watch props close. 

Are there tie lines on the boat?
Yes!  We permanently attach the tie lines to the boat, that way you can't leave them on another boat or at a restaurant.

Is there an anchor on the boat / where is the anchor?
Yes!  It will be inventoried before you leave the dock.  Depending on the boat there is specific location, either on the front deck or in the anchor hatch.

Is there music on the boat? Can I plug in?
That depends.  Can you sing?  Just kidding.  All the boats have stereos.   They also have a way to hook up your portable music device... you need to bring a cord to connect it via the headphone jack.

Is there WiFi on the boat?
Dang.  Not yet.

Is there a map on the boat?
We put maps on the boat, but if you notice it's missing, just ask for one in the store.

Are there canopy's on the boat?
Yes!  About 3 years ago the biggest suggestion our members requested was that all the boats had an opportunity for shade.  So, over that winter we added bimini tops to all the boats. 

Are there bathrooms on the boat?
Nope.  There may be areas that port-a-potties could be installed, but we've discovered that, although our crew is amazing, no one wants to clean a toilet.  There is a difference between using the pump out machine on the outside of a boat and actually getting down in the head and wiping off a toilet or the floor around a toilet (GROSS!).  So at this point no potties!  There are lots of places around the lake such as restaurants that have public bathrooms.

Can we bring our dog with on a boat club boat?
Boat Club Members: Please call us for details about dogs. 

Please note:  if you are looking at renting a pontoon for a one day outing, and arrived on this boat club FAQ page...  Please note that we do not allow dogs on board the pontoon boats for our day-rental program.


BASIC INFO ABOUT THE LAKE AND SURROUNDING AREA:

Where can we go on the lake?

Anywhere that you can navigate.   You can go to a city like Wayzata or Excelsior and dock at the public docks, get off the boat and walk around.  There are lots of places to get ice cream.  You can stop and float.  You can go swimming, tubing, cruising.  Get a historical book and start finding landmarks.  There are lots of places to visit by boat. 

Where can we go off the lake?
Even better... you have restaurants in Mound and Spring Park.  If you need to exercise, the Dakota trail is at the top of the hill next to the marina, this is a paved trail from Wayzata to Hutchinson.  Take a bike ride or run then go on the boat.  Visit the general store in Cottagewood.  Take time to go to the historical museums in Mound and Excelsior.  Gosh, so much to do... even ride a trolly!

What is there to do in Spring Park?
Food!  Lord Fletcher's and Bobby Q's, or the Minnetonka Drive In.  You should go the Drive In and eat in your car once... that experience doesn't come along much anymore.  You can also walk the trail... you drive under the bridges over Seaton Channel...why not walk over it, too?  Go play tennis at the public courts. 

What is Big Island like?
Depends.  It can be VERY busy or VERY quiet.  It just depends on the day of the week.  But if anyone has been to Lake Minnetonka they'll ask if you've been to Big Island. 

Where is there a place to eat on the lake?

Yes!  Besides docking in Excelsior or Wayzata, depending on the size of boat you're on... you can get to Caribou Coffee in Mound (or Starbucks/Caribou Wayzata) Dunn Bros in Excelsior.  You can eat at Lord Fletchers, Maynards/Bayside, Cove, 6Smith, there are just a bunch of places!  Don't forget Dominos delivers along with Joey Nova's (Take your pizza on the boat)  Even the Drive In has "to go" options.

Where is there a place to swim?
You can float and swim.  You can go to Family Beach in Maxwell Bay, The south side of Goose Island, Wawatosa Island, or Big Island.

Where is there a place to ski or tube that is calm?

North Arm, Jennings, and Maxwell Bay along with Wooded Shores have nice long runs.

Where are the bathrooms on the lake?

Restaurants, Wayzata, Excelsior,  Water Patrol, Wayzata Beach, Surfside Park


LOGISTICS OF THE ROCKVAM BOAT CLUB:

Is it difficult to get a boat?
It depends.  As a member you can have up to two reservations on the books up to two weeks in advance. That means we roll ahead and all the boats are available when the next day (two weeks out) opens up!  So if you absolutely want a pontoon on a special Saturday... make sure you have an open reservation and as soon as two weeks ahead happens, book it!  We typically have great availability, especially during the week.  Just make sure if you have a special day in mind that you keep an open reservation so you can get locked in!  Also, if you can't make it, please cancel.  All of the members are sharing boats so someone else just might want to enjoy the waters if you can't!

How many times can I use the boat this summer?
The membership is unlimited.  In addition to having to reservations, you can always call us and ask "what's available today" if there's something that works for your schedule, we'll book it for you.

How many people are in the club?
At this time we adhere to a 6 to 7 membership per boat ratio.    This means with our current fleet of 8 if we maxed out with 7 memberships per boat that would be 56 memberships.  Here's the cool part... we do not split memberships or add additional drivers to our contracts.  Now you might be thinking, "What's cool about that?"  Well, if Member A has a contract with two reservations on the books and Member B has a contract with two reservations on the books they are treated the same.  But if member B has 6 drivers on the contract and Member A is the only one, well... each of the 6 drivers can take a boat out spontaneously, every day, which affects the use ratio.   It's essentially splitting a contract and we don't do that!  We keep the price low so you don't have to split the membership between families or co-workers.

Is 4 hours long enough?
It seems like a quick time on the water, but when you are going out once, twice or three times a week it seems to be a good time frame.

Can you have boat longer than 4 hours?
It depends.  Right now, as a practice, we allow our members to "piggy back" their two reservations Monday -Thursday and reserve a boat for the whole day (non-holidays).    You can also call and ask if anyone is using the boat before you or after you and either arrive earlier or stay out later...  So yes, there are times you can take a boat out longer.

What are the shifts like?
Time blocks are attached to the boats.  The time blocks are staggered so that all of the boats are not departing or arriving the docks at the same time.  It might be a 9:30 to 1:30 or 11:00 to 3:00 time block and the after then would be 2:30 to 6:30 or 4:00 to 8:00.  This is during peak sun hours.  As the sun goes down earlier our boats come back earlier.  This starts to happen in mid-August.  We can't help it, we go with the sunlight.

Why can I use the boat all day Monday-Thursday but not Friday, Saturday, Sunday?

Simply put. Availablity.  We have less people using the boats Monday to Thursday which gives us the opportunity to offer 8 hour shifts.  We want to have the most available time slots Friday to Sunday, therefore we adhere to the 4 hour time blocks.  Remember two shifts a day is 16 opportunities and take that over three days... you're looking at 48 opportunities to get on a boat between Friday and Sunday.  PS:  we don't restrict how you use your reservations.  If you want to book for both Saturday and Sunday - go for it.

Why do you have to have boat in by 8?
The lake is a completely different navigation experience after dark.  Unfortunately we have to call it a day at some time...

Can we keep the boat overnight?
Nope. We need the boats back to the dock so they can get gassed and cleaned for the next day's member.

Can I get a boat on the 4th of July?
Two weeks before July 4th is June 20th.  Make sure June 20th you have a reservation to use!  All the boats are available on June 20th....

Will I be able to get a boat on the weekend?
Saturday is the most popular day to take out a boat club boat.  Use your reservations accordingly.  Don't assume the day is full, always check, you may be pleasantly surprised!

When does the season start?
The Thursday before Memorial Day.

When does the season end?
It runs through the weekend after Labor Day.

Why does the season start late and end early?
We are a "Summer Only" boat club.  The Rockvam Boat Club is part of the larger marina, Rockvam Boat Yards.  As such you gain the benefit of a full service marina with large parking lots, easy access, convenience store, bathrooms, picnic areas, and boat club boats priority service in our repair shop (this is a big deal, much less "down time" if a boat is damaged).  Here's a little further behind the scenes logistical magic... what happens in the spring is we are very controlled by "ice out".  The larger marina stores over 400 boats and that means we have to process and get ready over 400 boats, largely before Memorial Day.   If "ice out" is late, such as the end of April/early May, yikes, that's a time crunch!   We have chosen to host a "summer only" boat club, and to keep pricing lower which allows us the opportunity to offer a product with a deadline we know we can achieve! 

Do members have to clean the boat?
Nope.  Well... you need to take your stuff off the boat.  There is a clean up charge if the boat comes back excessively messy.  Most members respect their fellow members and keep the boat tidy.

Can I bring Alcohol on the boat?
Sure.   Follow the laws.

Can we bring food?
Yes of course!  Remember you're on a boat, so a couple things to keep in mind.  Melting happens.  Sticky attracts ants/bees.  And my favorite, Cheeze doodle dust becomes a super adhesive paste when mixed with water.  

Can we bring a grill?
Nope.  Fire and Boats don't mix.  We won't even let you transfer a grill on our boat for use at an island. 

How do you reserve a boat?
We have an online reservation system.  You can make and cancel reservations as you choose.

Can I change the time block?
You can change your boat from morning to afternoon or change to a different boat that has a time block that works better, as availability allows.  BUT the time blocks are assigned to the boats.  Those can't be changed.  If the time block is from 3:00 to 7:00 you can arrive after 3:00 but you will still be due back at 7:00

If I'm using the boat on a Saturday Afternoon and it's available in the morning can I start early?
Yes. You call us the morning of and inquire.  If the boat is available, we consider it a "spontaneous" reservation, so you can start early and keep through your afternoon time block.

Do I have to show up "right on time" for the reservation?
Nope. But we do want to know. Please, give us a courtesy phone call or email that says what time you'll be arriving.  It will help us greatly with logistics.  You see... we launch on demand using our forklift.  There are time that if you're arriving an hour late it makes a difference if we use the dock space for a different boat.  ALSO, if your plans change and you're no longer coming, let us know ASAP so we can get the boat out of the water.

If I don't show up at the exact start time, do I still have a boat?

Yes, but you've got to communicate with us.  Call us or email us!  After two hours you're a "no show" we pull the boat out of the water and follow our "no show" procedure.

How do I cancel one of my reservations online?
Simple. Log into the online system and follow the instructions.

Can you just make a reservation for me over the phone?
Only the day of "spontaneous" reservations are made over the phone.  

How do I look at my reservations on the website?
When you pay for your membership you will gain access to the online system.

What if I already have two reservations can I still use the boat?

Of course.  You can do day of "spontaneous" reservations.  As soon as you use one of your reservations you can book again.  We never allow three reservations on the books... the computer system doesn't allow it.

Where can I park when I get there?
We have two large flat parking lots.  No Hills!  Awesome!  There is one parking lot by the lake and one across the street.  Both are fully paved which is very nice during rain storms, your car stays clean.  There are even large cargo carts you can use to get your things to and from your boat.

Where do guests park?
Guests will also use the two large parking lots.

Am I allowed to keep a car parked here overnight?
Talk to us first, we have a few guidelines.

What do I do at the end of my rental?
Stop at the gas dock.  The attendants will top off the gas tank and inventory the boat for safety items and damage.  You pay for your gas.  Make another reservation.  Stop in the store, say HI.  Tag us on your fun photos on the lake... and get ready to come back!

Am I responsible for cleaning the boat?
You're responsible for unloading your items.  Your fellow members appreciate your keeping the boat tidy.  But our staff does the cleaning between shifts.   If the boat comes back excessively messy we will charge the clean up fee.  Most members are so awesome out on the waters... and then... there are times... when the clean up fee is truly earned.  It's rare, but you'd agree if you saw it.  The story that comes to mind is the frosting from the cake that got embedded in the gauges on the dash of the boat.  Please don't do that, what a nightmare.

Can I have more than the amount of people on boat than Rockvam says because the placard says more???
Nope. Our boats are safety checked for the Rockvam maximum amount of people.  We have guidelines we adhere to.  The placard on the boat, while correct, doesn't factor gear, motor, and the general increase in weight (the super sizing) of a human.

Can someone show me how to run the boat?
We will give you general operational knowledge and have also included instructional videos on our website.  But we do not take you out past the dock for instruction. We recommend the Minnetonka Power Squadron's boating courses.

Can my mom drive?
If she is listed on the contract as a driver, yes.  If she is not listed on the contract as a driver, no.  If you do not want to have this conversation with her, we can be the "bad guy" and explain the boat club rules.  We're totally cool with that.



DON'T FORGET...
PS:  Request boat club pricing information with this form


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