Businesses impacted on Lake Austin

Those who depend on Lake Austin for revenue have been left in a tight situation. The lake has been closed for two weeks due to recent rains. Many businesses hope it will re-open Tuesday.

If you're caught out on the lake, you could face a citation or your boat being impounded. That goes for the public and businesses who make their living off of the water. Rodney Gerley goes to work by boat.

"Haven't made a dime. It's time to move," says Rodney Gerley, owner, Tariq's Boat Lift Repair.

He fixed this dock two weeks ago but hasn't been able to move since.

"Why is the lake still closed? If it's just for debris, oh c'mon now. You're going to let me starve to death behind debris on the lake. I know how to work a boat to get around debris," says Gerley.

Gerley opened Tariq's Boat Lift Repair in 2014. He fixes boat docks and installs boat lifts on Lake Austin.
The summer months are his peak season. Unfortunately for him, this summer has started out rough.

"We move when we need material to get and come to the work-site. That's the only time we're really moving our boat. Most of the time, we're stationary working on the dock. Right now, you can't go from one dock to the other one because they won't allow you to do that," says Gerley.

Lake Austin's waterway ban started May 30th and has been extended until noon Tuesday due to unsafe conditions created by recent rains and flooding. This has left Gerley with a list of jobs he can't get started on.

"The police department, their life every day is a danger. They still go to work. It's dangerous out on the lake, I understand that but I need to be out there even though it's dangerous. We've got to make a living," says Gerley.

The ban prohibits recreational, navigational and commercial use. Some would like to see some type of exemption for businesses that depend on the lake. 

"Where we're allowed to at least go from job site to job site. You know, we're not out floating in the center of the lake," says John Surta, employee, Tariq's Boat Lift Repair.

Capital Cruises has been impacted as well. Since the lake has been closed, customers have either had to cancel reservations or just enjoy the boat while it's tied to the dock.

Congress Avenue Kayaks hasn't been able to rent out any of their paddle-crafts but they understand that safety comes first.

"The current has been really swift. It doesn't look as bad from the shore but if you're out there standing on the dock, you can see it's really swift. It makes sense that it's closed. We saw some people get rescued right in front of us," says Kyle Sloat, operations manager, Congress Avenue Kayaks.

For Gerley, he hopes the lake opens soon to at least businesses. Otherwise he will have to close his for good.

"Those who need it to make a living, to survive. You know, I'm suffering right now really bad," says Gerley.

Austin Fire says there are no exceptions to the ban. Businesses will have to wait until the lakes are safe.