OSHKOSH – Summer is a great time to explore Oshkosh’s many waterways, and a new company hopes to help more people get out on the water.
Brothers Christopher and Michael Amos opened MidWest Rental Co. with friend Nathan Twinde in June 2021 in the new Fox Harbor Marina, which they also own.
Christopher Amos said the company started as an idea in the summer of 2020, shortly after leaving the military, and he was considering his next steps. He owned a boat and a jet ski and started renting them out on an app.
“We were very busy so we decided to buy another Jet Ski,” Amos said. “That first year, I was just meeting people on a boat launch, putting the boat in, and coming back to get them out of the water.”
They have since moved to a full fleet of craft.
MidWest Rental Co. offers kayak, paddleboard, Sea-Doos and pontoon boat rentals off the marina at 1000 Bauman Street. space and the addition of a small general store that sells snacks and drinks.
“When we started it was just a little cabin,” Amos said. “We did all our business with this on my cell phone.”
In previous years, driving past Bauman Park on Bauman Street, you might not even notice a marina. Sue Everhard, who grew up in the area, said she didn’t even know one existed.
“It was really overgrown,” she said. “But I guess it wasn’t public.”
Amos said it took him a minute to realize that too. He went for a bike ride one day last spring and noticed the property was for sale. He called the number on the panel and made an offer to the previous owner.
The three opened Fox Harbor Marina on June 1, 2021. Since then, improvements have caught the eye. Amos said last year was “very busy” and this year has had a slower start, she’s picking up.
The rental company has pre-bookings through August, particularly around July 4 and the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture convention, July 24-31. Amos expects her to stay busy throughout the summer.
After:This couple brings more daycations to Oshkosh with a Tiki boat on the Fox River
After:New owners will reopen Oshkosh’s Screwballs for the summer before renaming, renovating
MidWest Rental Co. offers two-hour, half-day and full-day rentals for Sea-Doo watercraft and boats as well as half-day and full-day rentals for pontoon boats . Costs range from $150 to $695, depending on boat type and rental length.
Amos said customers must have a boater’s safety certificate to operate a Sea-Doo or pontoon unless they were born before 1989. The certificate can be obtained through an online boater’s safety class.
The company also offers hourly rentals of single and double kayaks and paddle boards ranging from $20 to $70. They service Oshkosh in Waupaca and also offer drop-off services as well as seasonal membership options.
Fox Harbor Marina is also the new home of Sue and Bob Everhard’s Elektra Cruise, an electric Duffy boat that guests can charter with or without a captain. It operated in partnership with Fox River Brewing Co. last summer, but the Everhards moved this spring.
“We thought it would be more synergistic trying to position this place as a boat rental location,” Sue Everhard said. “We are happy to be here.”
Experienced boaters can rent the electric boat by the hour for up to 10 passengers. The cost is $175 per hour, plus tax, with a two-hour minimum. Elektra Cruise also offers captained charters for up to six people. These cost $265 for a 90-minute guided Fox River tour or $295 for a two-hour tour. Customers can bring their own snacks and drinks.
She said that because they only operate one boat, they are able to offer more customization, including longer cruises or catered snacks at an additional cost. Visit elektracruise.com or call 920-252-8118 to learn more.
Amos said the companies may be small, but they are united in having big dreams to serve all of Oshkosh. They are one of the few boat rental services in town.
The Oshkosh Parks Department offers water bike, kayak, canoe, paddle board, and mini pontoon rentals for an hourly rate from Menominee Park.