Saginaw Bay Yacht Club

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Saginaw Bay Yacht Club
Burgee of Saginaw Bay YC.svg
Short name SBYC
Founded 1894
Location 2313 Weadock Hwy, Essexville, MI 48732  United States

The Saginaw Bay Yacht Club is situated on the Eastern shore of the Saginaw River about a mile and a half (2.4 km) from Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron, Michigan.


Established as The Bay City Boat and Fishing Club in 1894, it is one of the oldest clubs on the Great Lakes. The name was changed to the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club in 1924. The present club house built in 1960. The Club has a full service restaurant and bar open during the boating season. Guest docks are available and reciprocity is honored through the Interlake Yacht Club association and the American Registry of Yacht Clubs. Complete commercial marine facilities are located nearby.[1]


The club was originally called the Bay City Boating and Fishing Club, and was founded in the summer of 1894 by William Jennison and 109 other enthusiastic charter members. A clubhouse erected on pilings on the Saginaw River at the foot of Scheurmann in Essexville, Michigan; it opened in January 1895.

At the time lumbering was king in the Saginaw Valley. Forty sawmills lined the banks of the Saginaw River from the mouth to above Bay City, and the pungent odors of freshly cut white pine and hemlock were ever present. Heavy traffic of steam tugs, tow barges leaving the mills with finished lumber, as well as incoming tugs towing log rafts or barges loaded with logs from lumbering areas, had to be a challenge as well as a hazard for the yachtsmen navigating the river. Sail and steamboats navigated their way up and down river. Activity slowed in 1898 after Ontario, Canada decreed that all timber cut on Crown lands must stay in Canada, cutting supplies for the mills significantly. Some mills along the Saginaw closed and some moved further north.

The small clubhouse was rapidly outgrown. With a shortage of mooring space, the club members decided to move downriver and move their clubhouse, plus add a new facility. Luckily, an ideal parcel of land with 480 feet (150 m) frontage on the river and 170 feet (52 m) deep approximately a mile from the mouth of the river was available. A membership meeting voted unanimously to proceed with plans, provided that the membership could be increased to 150. This was quickly accomplished.

The small clubhouse was transported over the winter ice to the new site. Henry Webber, a building contractor, was hired to construct a new building alongside it. Completion date was set for July 1, 1904. An artist's rendition of the new clubhouse appeared in the Bay City Tribune newspaper on May 5, 1904; the membership anticipated the best boating and social season ever. A grand opening of the beautiful 40' x 50' Victorian building was held on July 8, 1904.

A number of pilings were driven in the river in front of the clubhouse and floats attached with chain for boat moorings. Occasionally strong northerly storms scattered the fleet, sinking some boats at their moorings. Between 1952 and 1956, basins were dredged on the north and south sides of the clubhouse, 600' (182m) long by 150' (46m) wide and eleven feet deep, eliminating further damage to the fleet.

The day came when the club building was in dire need of repairs. The pilings it rested on had been shifted by the ice and were deteriorating. The floors were badly warped by previous flooding and the upper balcony had been closed for some time due to its poor condition.

In 1959 the old building was demolished, and a new club constructed, featuring the latest in modern facilities and conveniences. The grand opening was held in conjunction with the Commodores' Ball in April 1960. The Saginaw Bay Yacht Club continues to grow and improve its facilities to maintain its reputation as one of the finest clubs on the Great Lakes.[2]

Club Officers[edit]

2008 Flag officers[edit]

  • Commodore Steve Dicken
  • Vice Commodore David Cole
  • Rear Commodore Theron Robinson
  • Treasurer Theron Robinson
  • Secretary Don Weaver
  • Past Commodore Paul Martin

2013 Flag Officers[edit]

  • Commodore Neil Oldenberg
  • Vice Commodore Craig Taunt
  • Rear Commodore William Fletcher
  • Treasurer Diane Diken
  • Secretary Pamela Murchison
  • Past Commodore Don Weaver

2009-10 Board of directors[edit]

  • Douglas Bloodgood
  • Mike McAlindon
  • Gary Gwizdala
  • Neil Oldenburg
  • Elizabeth Peters
  • Debra Filer
  • Ron Petre
  • Scott Janke
  • Don Weaver
  • Ralph Kettling
  • Amy Wierda

2013-14 Board of Directors[edit]

  • Ted Billy
  • Mike Bunting
  • Steve Goodenow
  • Dr. Mike Holland
  • Troy Kraemer
  • John Kustuch
  • Harry Lever
  • John Michutka
  • Lynn Weaver
  • Rona Van Amburg
  • Martial Veins

Club Management[edit]

  • General Manager - NONE
  • Business Manager -Ashley Van Akker


  1. ^ Saginaw Bay YC Home Page, Official Page of the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club. Retrieved on September 22, 2007.
  2. ^ Saginaw Bay YC History, Official Page of the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club. Retrieved on September 22, 2007.