Local Boat Business Struggles To Stay Afloat
Lake Norman- With Labor Day just around the corner, the boat business is booming, but, not everyone is getting a piece of the pie. Some boat charters are tanking on one of the most profitable weekends.
Cliff Champion, Championship Yacht Charters Owner, has been running his charter boat business for 13 years, but now his business is sinking, “We lost every bit of the DNC business, we have nothing; the problem is there is no place we can go, there's no place were permitted."
Champion use to dock his boat at the Midtown Sundries in Cornelius, until the bank took over the property; now he’s blaming Duke Energy for the demise of his business, “We've gone from marina to marina and Duke power has chased us out of everyone.”
Duke Energy Communications Manager, Erin Culbert, says Duke Energy has gone above and beyond for this individual, “Duke Energy has been working with this individual for a number of months and we have provided him with alternatives to pursue; ultimately its the local marinas approved by Duke that can bring him to a location."
Still Champion argues that the available marinas can’t accommodate his boat, “They already have boats at the facilities and they don’t have any room for another one.”
In the meantime Champion has been docking his boat at All Seasons Marina, however there’s not much he can do there, since the marina is not permitted to run charter boats.
Champion also needs a permit from the Marine Commission and time is running out. The Lake Norman Marine Commission said, “Even if he could get a home port, he could not be up and running by the DNC. It takes 30-90 days to review a charter boat permit"
Champion says this business is his livelihood and he can’t afford to lose it, “This is what pays my house, my boat, without it I loose everything, I'll have to go into bankruptcy."
Duke Energy is currently working on expanding charter operations throughout the area.