George Pensel knows his boats, having grown up on the shores of Lake George where his father owned a marina.
Although the marina was sold to new owners when George was 15, he worked there as a teenager for several years before becoming an assistant manager in a different boat business, and then forging out on his own.
George now owns his own dealership and marina called Boats by George, with locations in Lake George and Cleverdale.
As someone who has now been in the boat business and lived in the Lake George area for 61 years, George knows a thing or two about the industry and what makes Lake George so exceptional.
We sat down with George and got his take on boating, the lake, and the area.
1) How has your passion for boating changed over the years? Are there certain aspects of boating you enjoy or appreciate more now than when you were younger?
Well actually, I almost did a complete flip. What I mean is that when I was younger, my interests were participating in water skiing, swimming, and the freedom of having my own boat to use to tour the bay, and find my way up to the cliffs – even rafting in Paradise Bay with all my friends.
Now that I am my own boss in the boat business, I don’t seem to find enough time to enjoy these activities like I used to. I really have been lucky enough to enjoy my work. It gives me great satisfaction to make these activities possible for others. . .they have the passion that I had, keeping [the boats] up and running, and watching them enjoy.
2) What advice do you give to people looking to buy a boat for the first time?
Usually you can tell by looking over a boat whether it has been taken care of or not. Always get out on the water for a sea trial. Bring a friend that has experience boating that can advise you on things you just don’t have experience with in a boat. Check with a Boats by George professional. We give all our customers a sea trial with instruction on the operation and usage of the boats we sell.
3) What do you think makes Lake George so special – for boating or otherwise – say, compared to other popular lakes in the state?
We are very lucky in New York State. We have so many clean and beautiful lakes. Lake George is unique because of all of its islands, and nooks, and crannies, and beautiful mountains surrounding the shores.
If you are tired of the scenery, pick up your anchor and go to another spot. You can camp, picnic, raft in your favorite bay, and once the day is coming to a close, choose from many dining establishments, so rarely found on other bodies of water.
4) What do you like to do in Lake George when it’s not boating season?
I really like to ski at Gore Mountain. That is mainly what I am attracted to here in the off season. My wife and I enjoy snowshoeing and cross country as well. We also enjoy escaping to the tropics in the winter months. We also continue to enjoy stand up paddle boarding as long as there is open water.
5) Do you have a favorite Lake George event or attraction?
Patty [my wife] and I enjoy taking a cruise in our wooden boat some evenings to ride into Lake George to Shepard’s Park to listen to music during the summer concert series.
To learn more about Boats by George and what the company offers, visit their website at www.boatsbygeorge.com.