By Mallory Harris | Staff Writer
As the spring season comes to Waco, it brings warmer weather with it. Taking advantage of the nicer weather the Baylor Marina is now open for students and faculty to get outside, paddle through the river or play sand volleyball. Open from 3 p.m. to dusk, the marina holds many options for students to enjoy one of the lesser-known activities on campus.
Daniel Ezell, outdoor adventure coordinator, said the different things that are offered at the marina. He said when there is nice weather, students are quick to get in line for paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, sand volleyball and more.
Ezell said because of COVID-19, the marina has a soft limit of 20 boats on the water to minimize traffic on the beach.
“That just means that if we have 18 boats out on the water and a group of six comes up, we are still going to put that whole group out,” Ezell said. “On a nice weather day, we’ll hit that capacity within the first hour and we’ll have a little over 20 boats on really quickly, and from there we start a waitlist.”
Even with stricter Covid-19 guidelines last semester, Ezell said he saw an increase in visits from students. Seeing new students along with the “regulars,” Ezell said it’s exciting to show what’s available and share that opportunity with freshmen all the way up to seniors.
“Everybody was a little stir-crazy and just wanted to do something, wanting to be around other people, and maybe all collectively recognized that being outside is okay and we have a resource like this that are outside,” Ezell said.
Seeing students be active at the marina and then also seeing them on campus has become one of his favorite things about the job, Ezell said. Denison junior Hannah Hittson works at the marina and said working outside is what originally caught her eye about the job.
“The ability to come work outside and serve people in the outdoors is really awesome,” Hittson said. “We’ll send out staff members to go out on the water with all our boats, so just being able to paddle out there and literally work on the river is so unique.”
Beaumont junior Bailey Brewton said she enjoys going to the marina to enjoy the outdoors and take in the scenery. She said even though she hasn’t been to the marina since the pandemic, she has fun memories of playing sand volleyball there with her friends.
“I think that that was a really great way for us to bond instead of just hanging out,” Brewton said. “The view is really beautiful and we were really able to appreciate nature and see how cool it is that that’s God’s creation.”
Open throughout the week, the marina holds multiple opportunities for students to gather with friends outside and be active. Ezell said they are also having small teaching sessions for those who want to learn how to sail during this semester, as well as late-night hours during the full moon.
Ezell said his favorite part about working at the marina is seeing people come for the first time and then come back again and again.
“I talk to seniors sometimes, and it’s their senior year and they’re like ‘We’ve never been down here,’” Ezell said, “and I’m like, ‘Where have you been?’”