Members of West Michigan Offshore who registered for the 2020 season will see their memberships extended through 2021. That’s the word from Roger Zuidema, the president of the high-performance powerboat club, which raises money for various local charities throughout its season.
“Due to the COVID-19 reality, WMO will be extending the membership/sponsorship through the 2021 season,” Zuidema wrote in a letter to the club’s members. “Membership purchased in 2020 will automatically be extended through December 31, 2021.
“We feel that if 2020 events happen, we can modify them to reduce costs and still be in a good financial position for 2021,” he continued. “We appreciate our sponsors that have contributed to the strength of the club and all that have supported WMO with giving and service.”
In early April, the club announced it was postponing registration for Muskegon Powerboat Weekend, June 18-20, and Rock The Coast, July 17-19, its two most popular events. The club has not announced new registration dates for those events. The West Michigan Offshore website still lists registration for Gold Coast Summer Blast, the final of the season August 21-21, as opening in July. That event, too, remains in question.
“Though phone calls and meetings via video technology, the WMO board members have talked about plans for 2020,” said Zuidema. “Should we cancel events? What about memberships? We all agreed that optimism motivates us, but the reality is that things have changed. So what’s the plan? Our first priority is the safety of those involved. We are not sure what the 2020 boating season events could look like as we monitor current COVID-19 regulations/guidelines and monitor record lake levels. We hold true that passionate and responsible boaters will find ways to go boating.”
Zuidema stopped short of officially cancelling all WMO events for 2020, but given their popluar elements of large-group gatherings, meals and celebrations he said those events “have changed and new plans are uncertain.”
Muskegon Powerboat Weekend is one of WMO’s tops events. Photo courtesy/copyright West Michigan Offshore.
“That said, it doesn’t mean that the 2020 season is a wash,” he said. “We will continue to bring boaters together through gatherings that abide by federal, state, and local regulations that maintain social distancing. As of now, we can still go boating. Ramps are opening. Guidelines and mandates will change in the next weeks and months. Rather than cancel the season, we remain optimistic to find ways to boat, do fun things and enjoy our great West Michigan boating venues. The board will be monitoring guidelines to see if runs and events can be reformatted.”
Zuidema said that West Michigan Offshore members will be informed of the club’s upcoming “2020 Boating Days,” which will be geared to more of a fun-run experience without large gatherings and meals.”
“Board members will seek additional dates for us to enjoy each other’s company which may include pop-up happenings this summer,” he added.