High river levels hurting boating and seasonal restaurants

FAIRPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- Memorial Day weekend is usually a big time for boating, but this year it can be dangerous with the high river levels and that could hurt seasonal restaurants.

The kitchen at the Lighthouse restaurant in Fairport, Iowa, is finally starting to pick up some steam, but not as much as owner Tim Schoenthal would like.

“One of our worst years in the 20 years, I’ve been here,” said Tim Schoenthal, the Lighthouse restaurant owner.

The seasonal restaurant that was supposed to be open in the middle of April is about six weeks behind due to flooding. With the river levels being high, Tim says he doubts he will see as many boaters.

“We can usually have 15 hundred people through here in a day on a busy weekend. We will be lucky if we have 2 or 3 hundred now, said Schoenthal

Outside of his restaurant, the boating docks sit in water.

“They're all just chomping at the bit to get in and obviously we can't put them in. Not that you would want to be out there anyway with the current and everything floating,” said Schoenthal.

Inside of Tim’s lounge, more than 20 boats are waiting to set sail.

“Right now, this building for Memorial Day weekend should be empty. As you can tell, we haven't even really started. I think there are 85 boats still left in here,” said Schoenthal.

From the look of things, Tim says it's going to be a long summer if we ever get there.

“It's got to go down at least four to five foot before we can even start putting boats back out in the water,” said Schoenthal.

Tim says at this point, they have lost more money cleaning up rather than money coming into the restaurant. The Iowa DNR is recommending boaters stay off the water this weekend or if you do decide to boat, be very careful.