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Pirates on American Lake

Boat rentals easy, fun at JBLM

The marina at Russell Landing offers great fun for those who want to enjoy a few more days on American Lake. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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For a while last Monday morning and early afternoon, three pirates controlled all boating on American Lake.

They had stormed Russell Landing Marina, showed their JBLM Recreation Qualification Card, filled out some easy paperwork and grabbed a few life preservers.

In their little hands they held a treasure chest-sized picnic basket full of vegetables, cold fried chicken, chips and bottles of water, not casks of rum.

"This will be a great boat day," a 6-year-old pirate named Haydn, proclaimed.

A youngster enjoys a morning trip on American Lake. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

"I can't wait to be a pirate. "Down the ramp they ran and stormed aboard a black, 22-foot Sun Tracker pontoon boat.

After running down a safety checklist and stowing the rations, I wrestled the key from a pirate calling herself Evelyn, inserted it into the ignition, and turned.

The Mercury engine - all 150 horses of it - kicked to life.

The RPMs purred at 1,000.  This sea equine was ready to run.

Within moments, my crew of three pirates left the marina's dock, slowly eased out into open waters, ran up the Jolly Rogers, and then pushed the power lever forward to maximum and fast performance.

For the next four hours, these little pirates explored every part of the lake.

The marina is neat and clean; the docks in excellent repair; and the staff professional and knowledgeable about getting you and your crew out onto the water.

For those buccaneers who own their own ships, there is an excellent access point from which to float your boat; moorage slips are also available if you choose to leave your frigate in the water.

Inside the marina there is an adequate selection of bait, fishing rods for sale and rent, tackle, refreshments and snacks.

For those who don't own their own ships but want to spend a part of or all of a day on the water, there are a number of well-maintained vessels for rent.

Pirates can rent 16-foot fishing motorboats, old and semi-new pontoon boats, jet skis and a Bayliner.

For those renting boats, they must view a 90-minute boater safety DVD to obtain the recreation qualification card.

If motivated, boaters can get ahead of their fellow pirates by visiting and obtaining a certificate of boater safety.

As to those wanting to rent a jet ski, they must watch a 10-minute video at the marina.

Cannon, saber, eye patches, pistols and grappling hooks are optional.

But at the end of the day, all will be happy.

Prices do not include gas.  A half-day of plundering is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or from 1:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Rentals are available Wednesday through Sunday; motorboats, pontoon boats and jet skis may be reserved in advance.

So shove off and set course to Russell Landing Marina before the end of the month (pirating ends Oct. 1) to enjoy some last minute nautical fun on American Lake.

The marina is located on American Lake Avenue in Building 8981.  For more information, visit or call 253.967.2510.

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