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Camaraderie Strong At Ohio Valley Marinas, Yacht Clubs

Martins Ferry Yacht Club members George Petterson, left, and Steve Cuddihy stand next to Patterson’s yacht at the marina.

MARTINS FERRY —  With dozens of marinas and boat clubs dotting the shorelines of the Ohio River in the tri-state area, the camaraderie is the one constant appeal for the members of these seasonal organizations.

According to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission’s website, between Hancock and Tyler counties there are 18 public and private marinas and boat/yacht clubs located along both sides of the river.

Several members of the Martins Ferry Yacht Club said the camaraderie and the friendly family atmosphere is what attracts such a diverse age group to the club, which originated back in the mid-1960’s with just a few members.

Thirty-four boats of varying sizes are docked at the marina, from a large 44-foot yacht to a few 16-footers and smaller jet skis.

Besides the waterfront cookouts, members are able to enjoy a variety of recreational activities on the river.

Steve Cuddihy, who has been a Martins Ferry Yacht Club member for nearly 25 years, said the club provides a family-friendly environment where everybody can get together.

“It’s the camaraderie, the playing cards … it becomes like a family. … You know everyone, you trust everyone,” said Cuddihy, who said the members are always looking out for each other.

George Petterson of Colerain, who has also been a member at club for more than three decades and currently docks his yacht at the Martins Ferry Yacht Club, said he thoroughly enjoys spending a lot of time at the club and aboard his boat.

“It’s just nice being able to jump on your boat and get out and relax,” said Petterson, adding many members will often tie up at Wheeling’s Heritage Port for many of the summer events held at the Friendly City’s waterfront.

George McAninch of Colerain, who describes himself as a “social member” of the Martins Ferry club, said it is one of the nicest yacht clubs along the banks of the Ohio River.

He said in addition to the recent updates to the boat dock, the marina provides restrooms, shower rooms and large storage area.

“The docks are great and everything is in order,” said McAninch.

The Rayland Marina, which is located just a few miles north along the Ohio River, has a sign that reads, “Welcome to Rayland Marina — Where River Folks Like to ‘Drop Anchor.'”

Pat Marino of Follansbee, who runs the bait shop at the Rayland Marina, agrees the camaraderie among members is one of the constant draws to the riverside organization, which hosts more than 30 boaters and 30 campers.

“You got a lot of friends here. … On Friday and Saturday nights you hang out here at the pavilion, they have a fire, play cards, have a couple beers and everybody sits around and talks about everything that is going on,” said Marino, who is also vice president of the Wheeling Heritage Port Sternwheel Festival. “We’ve got a beautiful place for you to hang out. We have camping where you you can set up a tent out there.”

According to ORSANCO the list of public and private marinas and boat/yacht clubs along the Ohio River in this region include: the Holiday Yacht Club, East Liverpool Yacht Club, Kennedy Marina Park, Weirton Marina, Pier 12 Restaurant,  Warwood Boat Club, Wheeling Yacht Club, 48th Street Boat Club, Prima Marina, Sistersville Boat Club, Bo’s Lighthouse & Marina, Steubenville Marina, Rayland Marina, Martins Ferry Yacht Club, Shadyside Boat Club and Riverside Restaurant.

Photos by Scott McCloskey
Pat Marino of Follansbee stands outside the “Bait Shop” at the Rayland Marina.

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