Here is the worst thing you can say about high-performance boating off Michigan’s west coast: the season is short. Go-fast boat enthusiasts there typically have from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend to get it done. Sure, there’s the odd early spring or (more likely) late fall weekend that presents an opportunity. But for the most part you’re looking at 12 weekends, just 24 days to get on the water, at least for those with regular weekday jobs.
With membership still growing for all the right reasons, the almost two-year-old West Michigan Offshore club has nailed down its 2017 events schedule. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Here is the second worst thing you can say about high-performance boating off Michigan’s west coast: It happens on Lake Michigan. Yeah, sure, in rare moments this ocean of a lake is as flat as your favorite local pond. But most often, Lake Michigan ranges from rough — even when it looks calm — to rougher. In short order, Lake Michigan will change your thinking on the rigors of ocean versus lake boating.
So why bother? Because Michigan’s west coast offers some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever find. Historic lighthouses, sugar-white sand dunes, pristine clear water, and plenty of great harbors with fine waterside dining spots from South Haven to Muskegon. Boating off Western Michigan is, like most great things that don’t come easy, worth the effort.
But don’t take my word for it. Just ask Chris Dekker, Jeff Tibbe, Kevin Alferink, Derek Powers, and Roger Zuidema, the board members of West Michigan Offshore, a nonprofit 501(c)(7) organization of high-performance powerboat enthusiasts, launched in April 2015.