Hitting the water of Lake Manitou is a seasonal pastime for many. This engineered lake has a legacy in history and has been a place to enjoy for nearly two centuries. Keeping today’s lake lovers happily on the water are the folks at Rochester Boat Company.
“Lake Manitou is an all-sports lake meaning that there is fishing, ‘pontooning,’ skiing, surfboarding, wakeboarding, sail boating, kayaking, canoeing, and jet skiing,” says Lisa Reffett, co-owner of Rochester Boat Company. She and her husband, Shane, started the business in 2009, adding additional services to the original pier, dock and boatlift services.
A lake that serves as many water sports as Manitou requires finding the right boat for the sport. Whether that calls for a speed boat or run-about, which are designed for skiing, a wake boat for that ultimate wakeboard or surfboarding experience, fishing boats to give anglers the upper hand in the many fishing tournaments on the lake, or the ever-popular pontoons for cruising.
“The pontoons of today are not like yesteryear’s pontoons that were floating platforms with small motors that would idle around the lake for sightseeing,” Reffett says. “Today’s pontoons are larger with comfortable seating and maneuverability with high horsepower motors that will go fast enough to pull a tube or a skier.”
The original pontoon design uses two long floatation tubes. A recent change to pontoon design is the introduction of the tritoons, which have three long flotation tubes. This design change allows the boat to sit higher out of the water and have more maneuverability, Reffett says.
“Pontoons of today can offer the flexibility of going fast to pull a skier or tube, being a platform to hold more people for sightseeing or being very stable for fishing,” she says. “At Rochester Boat Company, we sell new Crest Pontoons that are for sight-seeing, tubing, or a model called ‘The Fish’ especially set up for fishing.”
According to the owners, Rochester Boat Company is also the only new boat dealer in Fulton County. The company sells Crest pontoons and tritoons along with Suzuki and Mercury motors and is authorized by the original equipment manufacturers to sell these brands.
The authorization process is based on the company getting their workers certified by the manufacturers to work on their products, insurance bonding, and having an Indiana dealer’s license, Reffett says. It also allows the company to guarantee warranties of their products.
“We also have a wide selection of used lifts and boats,” Reffett says.
Although RBC has several models of boats to choose from, the company is there for the long haul of boat ownership. From routine maintenance to winterization, detailing and storage, the Reffetts make sure boat owners don’t need to look elsewhere to take care of their boats. And the same applies to the maintenance and care of lifts and canopies.
Rochester Boat Company is a one-stop shop,” Reffett says. “RBC can not only sell you a pontoon and motor, but we can put it in the water and take it out to store with us in any of our storage facilities.”
Keeping a boat showroom fresh is the work of RBC’s dedicated detailing shop that uses a commercial wall-mounted hot-water power sprayer. Boats and motors can be power washed and then waxed. Interiors are power washed with specialized cleansers and the vinyl on seats are thoroughly cleaned and conditioned.
Storage spaces are cleaned inside and out with all trash removed. Chrome, windshields, and gauges are always polished.
“The time to clean a boat depends on the size and condition of the boat,” she says. “We also clean canopy tops for lifts, which is generally done in the fall. After cleaning, canopies are then folded, bagged, and tagged with the owner’s name.”
Certified technicians are skilled and experienced to tackle a variety of maintenance issues and repairs. They are also certified through Suzuki and Mercury Marine. Shane Reffett has a bachelor’s degree in service management and is also an accomplished welder and welding instructor. He heads up the service department.
“Storm damage is one of our specialties, Reffett says. “We would be glad to work with your insurance company to give estimates on lifts, docks or pontoons, and then repair your damage.”
RBC will also come to the customer for repairs of lifts and piers. Boat motor work is only done in the shop, however.
“Rochester Boat Company has a large number of mobile units including our fleet of barges that allow for transport of small equipment for lakeside work,” Reffett says.
Their fork-style pair of elite barges allow lift and pier installation, removal and repair. The company also maintains a fully stocked van and a multitude of trailers that can go to the many different lakes in the 100-mile radius of Rochester that RBC serves.
“If possible, RBC can repair lifts and piers on site,” Reffett says.
Rochester Boat Company sells and services Shore Station lifts and Shore Dock piers, Lake Shore Products, Ryco Lifts, and Dock Deck by Trust Corp (formerly Brock Dock). Dock Deck comes in a variety of colors.
“Rochester Boat Company is one of only four dealerships to be authorized in northern Indiana to sell Dock Deck,” Reffett says.
Rochester Boat Company is committed to providing what the lake community needs to fully enjoy life on the water. It is a family business run by a family who grew up on the lake and who still enjoy spending time on the water and with each other.
Shane grew up in Rochester and worked at Smitty’s Marina. He was an engineer with Navistar. Lisa grew up in California, but she often visited her grandparents and later her aunt and uncles at their house on Treasure Island. Those memories and that family bond ensure that the Reffetts care about giving other families the opportunity to have similar experiences.
Rochester Boat Company is located at 410 North State Road 25, Rochester. RBC is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday hours are by appointment only. For service or more information, call 574-223-2675 orRochesterBoats@aol.com. Visit their website at rochesterboatcompany.com or find the company on Facebook and YouTube.
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