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Easier Access Expected To Triple Canadian Boaters For Marina’s 2017 Summer Season

Announcement Follows Millions In Fed Funding Secured By Schumer For New Marina

Schumer: Boating is Big Business for Rochester; This New Video Phone Is Crucial for Strengthening Waterfront Attractions, Economic Activity, Job Creation And Economic Growth

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced today that he has successfully pushed federal officials to install a new video phone at the Port of Rochester Marina in Charlotte. The phone, called an Outlying Area Reporting Stations (OARS) Video Phone, will allow Canadian boaters and tourists to remotely check in with customs officials right at the Port, instead of the current system that would require boaters to travel further to an existing Custom facilities.  Canadian Boaters have previously complained about the inconvenience of not having a video phone at the Port of Rochester’s new Marina. The marina operator expects that easier border access will triple the number of Canadian tourists boating in the area this summer, increasing from approximately 96 total nights in 2016 to over 300 nights in 2017.

“With summer here at last, I’m thrilled that tourists will be able to enjoy everything Rochester has to offer with as little inconvenience as possible. Installing this new Video Phone will allow for the marina to support a new influx of tourist and boaters. Visitors will spend less time going through customs and more time enjoying the attractions in and around the recently opened Rochester Marina,” said Senator Schumer. “This new Video Phone will allow the new marina to be a hub of commercial and recreational activity and bring tourist dollars into Charlotte and beyond. I’m proud to have helped secured federal funding needed to build the Marina  and now we can fully roll out the welcoming mat to attract new Canadian boaters just in time for the summer tourist season.  I’m committed to ensuring that we have the resources we need to make it a success.”

“The Marina at the Port of Rochester is positioning our city as a Great Lakes destination and accelerating the growth of our tourism economy, which helps us create more jobs, safer more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities for our citizens,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “The addition of a Customs Phone will draw even more international boaters to the Marina and further enhance our ability to leverage this vital resource.  I want to thank Senators Charles Schumer and all of our partners in Washington for all the support they have given and continue to provide for this project by helping us create true ‘Port of Opportunity’ on Rochester’s lakefront.”

Schumer explained that the U.S. Customs Video Phone would allow the more than 300 nights of expected Canadian Visitors to The Rochester Marina to remotely check into customs when they arrive to the United States.  Without a video phone at the Port of Rochester, boaters would have to either drive to the Rochester airport where our customs office is located, but isn’t always staffed or sail first to Irondequoit bay which for some travelers in out of the way. Many visitors were finding it very inconvenient to use the customs phone at Irondequoit Bay because of its locations at Shumway Marina because the boaters are forced into queuing with other customers that are waiting for gas and other boater services instead the new phone at the Rochester Marina will allow the more than 300 nights of transient boaters to go through the customs process smoothly. Schumer said with the videophone, the boaters just call in and get connected to a USCIS officer in Oswego who clears them giving them the chance to spend more time in Rochester supporting local business and creating jobs.

The new Port of Rochester marina is beginning to attract more and more transient boaters and many of them are coming from Canada.  The new marina was designed for transient dockage because market studies and anecdotal evidence pointed to the need in the Rochester Harbor for temporary visitor docks.  For the 2017 summer season, The City’s Marina Operator projects that the Marina will host over 300 nights of Canadian thanks to the addition of the on-premises Customs Video Phone and additional Cross-Border Marketing that the Marina Operator is pursuing to support the new video phone capability.  Specifically the City’s Marina Operator has attended the Toronto Boat Show, provided a promotional mailing to 24 of the biggest marinas in Canada, and is participating in Cross Border Promotions, a visitor’s guide to the Canadian market about New York State recreational attractions. 

Schumer has always been an advocate for the Rochester Marina. In 2016 he helped secure $2.32 million in federal funding to dredge the Port of Rochester the dredging enabled  the harbor to continue serving as a vital passageway for the City of Rochester, which greatly relies on a clear harbor to generate nearly $10 million annually in recreational benefits and support more than 140 local jobs.  In 2011, Schumer helped secure a $1.45 million federal Department of Interior Boating Infrastructure Grant which was the final funding piece needed to fund the construction of the new City of Rochester Marina in Charlotte at the mouth of the Genesee River on Lake Ontario.  With construction of the Marina completed this year, the new marina will open for business this upcoming boating season.

The marina which opened in 2016 is the centerpiece in the City of Rochester’s development of the Port of Rochester Lake Ontario waterfront area. The project used $18.9 million in public investments to leverage millions in new private sector development.  The Marina construction created approximately 90 new construction jobs.

Last year in the Schumer helped secure $2.32 million in federal funding to dredge the Port of Rochester’s Harbor last summer in 2016 in anticipation of the new Marina’s grand opening.