After two years of work, Chris Murray finally has his pedal boat service off the ground and in the water.
Murray operates a new pedal boat and kayak rental service on City Park Lake, which is surrounded by Dalrymple Drive, East Lakeshore Drive and May Street near LSU.
Murray said he first approached BREC, the parish Parks and Recreation Commission which oversees the lake, with the idea of the boat rental business in summer 2009.
He said the deal was approved in June after two years of paperwork and business negotiations.
“When they called me (saying the deal was done), I shouted,” Murray said with a laugh.
The business, which opened in June, offers two pedal boats and two kayaks for rental. The boats are launched off May Street, which divides City Park Lake and University Lake.
Brandon Smith, BREC’s assistant director of special facilities, said BREC officials visited other parks in the country that had pedal boats and thought it was a good idea.
“It gives (people) another opportunity to enjoy water sports,” Smith said. “We feel that we can offer a good product to them that they can enjoy with their family.”
Murray’s service sits on the sandy edge of City Park Lake near a gravel parking lot. He stays under a nearby tree with waiver forms and life jackets, waiting for customers to walk up.
Murray said he has received some business from joggers who pass by and are intrigued by the boats and the BREC sign by his table.
“We’ve gotten some repeat business from that,” Murray said.
The pedal boat venture is a side business for Murray. He said he used to load and unload barges at major chemical plants between Baton Rouge and New Orleans before taking a job at a shipping and receiving company in Gonzales in 2009.
Murray started a company called Ocean Water Pedal Boats that same year. He said he created the company because he enjoys swimming and being on the water.
“We have these lakes here,” Murray said. “We should take advantage of them.”
Murray said he’d like to expand the service to 15-20 boats and move to other lakes. He mentioned a BREC lake in Baker as an example.
“Hopefully, I can grow (this business),” Murray said.
The boats are available for rental on the weekends — 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, and noon to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
A ride costs $10 per half hour for each boat. Renters must be 18 years old or older, but a parent can rent a boat for a child 12 years old or older.