City approves permit for remote control sailboats in Grand Marais harbor

Visitors to the City of Grand Marais will see remote control sailboats in the Grand Marais harbor this summer.

City councilors approved a permit that will allow the operation of six-foot-tall vessels as part of a rental business operated by Ami Alcala and her son Harley.

The boats will be rented from a section of city-owned beach at the end of First Avenue between Harbor Park and the Lake Superior Trading Post—the same area previously used by vendors for kayak rentals and airplane rides.

Because the enterprise will be conducted on city property, council must grant permission for use of the space.

Both Ami and Harley stressed to council that the small wind-powered boats are noiseless and pose no danger to pedestrians on the beach or other users of the harbor.

Alcala said she hopes to begin renting the boats in early May and continue through fall, weather permitting, seven days a week.

They explained that the business will be “completely portable,” with everything taken down and removed every day; there will be nothing left on the beach overnight. Ami said she envisions between six and 12 boats in use at any time, depending on demand.

Councilors endorsed the enterprise unanimously.