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Utah Water Science Center

Boating on Great Salt Lake.


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Great Salt Lake—Boating

Boating and Recreation on Great Salt Lake

A marina. Click for a larger picture.Public launch facilities are available at Saltair Marina and Antelope Island Marina, both operated by the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation. Launching at both marinas is free but there is a charge to use the causeway from Syracuse to Antelope Island which includes the fee for Antelope Island State Park. There is an excellent Visitor's Center at Antelope Island State Park which includes interpretive exhibits (some exhibits still under construction) and a bookstore/giftshop. Hot food and snacks are available at Buffalo Point near the Visitors Center. There are covered picnic areas, restrooms, and fresh-water showers available at the state park. Facilities at Saltair Marina include covered picnic tables and restrooms with showers. The privately owned Saltair Amusement Park has food service and amusement rides and is located on the road to Saltair Marina just off Interstate 80. The only commercial boat excursions are run by the Island Serenade, a large cruiser out of Saltair Marina (see more information below).

A boating map for Great Salt Lake. Click for a larger picture.Since the very salty water of the lake is corrosive to metal, motorized craft (other than the shrimp harvesting fleet) are not common on Great Salt Lake. Water skiing and jet skis are very rare on this lake, but an occasional sea kayak appears near Saltair Marina. (Can you imagine the impact of a skier falling at 30 mph in water that is much denser than fresh water?). While there are few speedboats, sailboats are popular on the lake and the Saltair Marina is where they hang out. Boat slips (click on image to the right to view a boating map of Great Salt Lake) are available for seasonal rental and the Great Salt Lake Yacht Club is an active organizer of skill and racing events. Note that winds on the lake are erratic. You may be able to go where you planned but return may be difficult. The lake is very shallow and there is considerable hazard of running aground in areas near the shoreline or any of the islands.

An island. Click for a larger picture.The shallowness also means winds can create very hazardous boating conditions in a very short time. Fortunately, there are several meteorlogical monitoring sites near the lake (Saltair Marina and Antelope Island as well as the mainland and a new station on Gunnison Island) which report real-time data on wind speed and direction through the Utah Mesonet system available through the internet (see more information below).

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