While bright sunny days lounging in the sand in Ocean City make for the perfect vacation, beachgoers might get a little tired of simply soaking up the rays after a few days straight. Among the countless family-friendly activities in the resort are watersports, including jet skiing, kayaking, or even setting sail across the bay on a pontoon boat. One local business, Odyssea Watersports, is preparing for a busy season ahead featuring brand new gear in the hopes of attracting new customers.
Located on 50th Street and the bayside, Odyssea is now entering its 24th year of providing waterfront entertainment for people of all ages and skill levels. Known for its commitment to customer service and treating people how they would want to be treated throughout their vacation, Odyssea has established a reputation that is second to none. The rental company will officially open for business on May 15, and preparations are kicking into high gear.
For those who have spent their annual trips with Odyssea before, this year will be quite a new experience on the water. The company has purchased a brand new fleet throughout the offseason, bringing a new shiny and refreshed look for 2021. Included are six pontoon boats, ten jet skis, and four Seadoo Trixx jet skis, made for thrill-seeking adventurers.
All the traditional jet skis are 2021 Seadoo GTX 130 Pros, which can hold up to three people. This marks the first time since 2009 that Odyssea has offered the Seadoo brand because the new vehicles are more durable and built for the rental industry. Odyssea typically sells the jet skis at the end of each or every few seasons, and the demand for buying used equipment is quite high. Kawasaki STX 160 jet skis are now for sale.
Jet ski rentals come in 30-minute or one-hour intervals, and drivers must be at least 16 years of age. Kayak availability spans from one to two hours, and pontoon boat rentals last anywhere from two to an extensive eight hour period. Large groups of up to 13 are welcome on the pontoon boats and can partake in activities such as crabbing, fishing, and even bar hopping. Customers have free reign anywhere between the Route 50 and 90 bridges and have the chance to make stops at Seacrets, Fish Tales, Macky’s, and other restaurants. Even dogs are welcome during boat rentals, but furry friends still require life jackets!
Also new for 2021 are professional photoshoot opportunities during rental sessions through Jenn Slack Photography, allowing people to capture their best action shots and memories.
Although time on the water is of the utmost importance at Odyssea, visitors will notice a new look this year when they first enter the beach property. Throughout the winter and spring, the management team has worked on upgrades to the main building, including a brand new coat of paint and a remodeled bathroom. With harsh winter storms on the Eastern Shore, the property takes quite a beating each year. The upgraded beach and rental building will be ready to go in a matter of weeks.
Manager Justin Clemens believes that a fresh look is one necessary aspect of enhancing customers’ experiences. “Being on the water surely takes a toll on our location, and we’ve looked forward to many of these renovations for a long time,” Clemens said. “We are redoing some walls, getting new trim, and even a new ice cooler for all the frozen bait. It might not seem like much, but we are trying to make Odyssea a little more aesthetically pleasing and professional.”
Success of Boating and Watersports Amid Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has ripped apart many local businesses, though not the watersports rental industry. Last year, Odyssea and other similar businesses succeeded, as people broke out of quarantine just in time for summer adventures. Many rediscovered their admiration for the outdoors, and they not only rented but even purchased watercraft. Data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) shows that boat sales in the United States climbed to a 13-year high last year. Personal watercraft such as jet skis and Seadoo vehicles jumped 8% in sales, while pontoon boat purchases rose 12%, exceeding all pre-pandemic estimates.
The Odyssea team recognizes the clear silver lining for their business. “The entire watersports industry was fortunate for being outdoors and naturally socially distanced. We had a lower capacity on our beach last year, but people were eager to get outside and have fun,” Clemens reflected. “You can only spend so many days on the beach. We noticed that people weren’t and still aren’t as comfortable with traveling long distances, so we hope to do pretty well again this upcoming year. We look forward to seeing everyone safe and smiling.”
Odyssea is Hiring!
Opposite of many local businesses in 2020, Odyssea had plenty of customers, though not nearly enough employees. For those looking to spend their summer out on the water, several positions, including boat operators, guides, and cashiers are still open. Call 410-723-4227 for more information.
Even in the colder months when Odyssea is closed, the team has found ways to stay engaged with its audience on social media, posting frequent updates about new arrivals and renovations. Clemens and his family also host weekly trivia nights on Facebook, often quizzing audiences about the latest happenings at the business.
The employees keep active year-round with many of the winterization and seasonal storage services offered. Spring start-ups, bottom painting, detailing, and trailer sales are all spring services Odyssea provides.
Does a day seeing the sights and sounds of Ocean City while riding a pontoon boat or racing across the bay on a jet ski sound like a plan? Be sure to head over to Odyssea when arriving this summer. Reservations are available now, and spots are filling up quickly. Click here for more information.