Nemasket Kayak Center launches rental service on Onset Beach
Roy Edwards remembers spending summertime at Onset Beach. The hot sun beating on the cool water, the subtle waves, the families enjoying themselves.
"I've been coming here since I was a kid," Edwards said during a brief break from cleaning a section of the the Onset Beach bathhouse, where he will soon open a division of his Raynham-based Nemasket Kayak Center. "My parents brought me here, and I brought my kids here."
So when he realized that no one was operating a place to rent kayaks on Onset Beach, he was puzzled.
"It's a natural. Kayaking goes with this territory," Edwards said.
Onset Bay is relatively calm. The opportunity for tours and lessons are plenty.
It's not difficult for even beginning paddlers to make their way around Wickets and Onset islands, up the East River into Broad Cove, or even further into Muddy Cove to the water that runs behind Cranberry Highway, or, in the other direction, around Shell Point into Sunset Cove.
In addition to rentals of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, Edwards plans to offer training and tours of the bay -- including family-fun and moonlight paddles. His employees will be certified by the American Canoe Association.
Edwards is still working out pricing, but says it will be reasonable -- approximately $15 per hour, with a discounted all-day rate.
An avid paddler, Edwards opened Nemasket Kayak Center in Middleborough in 2011. He previously worked for 15 years for Canoe Passage Outfitters in Raynham. That store eventually closed, and he moved Nemasket Kayak to its location on Route 44.
Earlier this spring, Edwards discovered the opportunity -- and a need -- at Onset Beach, and approached the town about using the beach and renting storage in the bathhouse.
Town officials had been looking for a use for the vacant building and liked the idea, especially because the building isn't in the best of shape, and the cash-strapped town can't currently fund repairs.
"It's not in the shape to run food services," a previous use of the space, said Town Administrator Derek Sullivan. "Just getting any use out of it right now is a positive thing."
In April, the town requested proposals for the lease of the section of the bathhouse that is closest to the Onset Pier. The purpose had to be specifically for the rental of non-motorized boats. Edwards was the only one who submitted a proposal.
"It's a beautiful spot on the coastline. There's not too many places like it," Sullivan said of the building. "I hope that this opens the doorway into [more] uses for the future."
Edwards says he's thrilled to be in Onset.
"I can't tell you how excited I am," he said.
Nemasket Kayak Center at Onset Beach will officially open on Saturday, June 1.
For more information, visit www.nemasketkayak.com.