National Marina of the Year—The Rockvam Family Are Blue Ribbon Mariners

We talk with the Rockvam family about their business’s National Marina of the Year award.

Roxanne Rockvam is proud of the National Marina of the Year award her family’s Spring Park business won this year. It is, after all, the first time a Minnesota marina has captured the honor, and it recognizes that Rockvam Boat Yards maintains high standards in all facets of its operations.

“It was a 91-page application by the time I finished answering all the questions,” Roxanne says. “It covers industry involvement, customer service and environmental responsibility.”

Roxanne is general manager of Rockvam Boat Yards, a company founded by her parents in 1961 that has grown from a repair shop, to one dock and a store on the first floor of the family home, to a full-service marina offering Lake Minnetonka boaters everything they need for summer fun.

Roxanne’s parents, Joyce and Jerry, are still involved with business. Jerry is also mayor of Spring Park—a job he’s held for most of the last 38 years with a small break when he attempted to retire.

In addition to the marina of the year award, Rockvam Boat Yards is also a certified clean marina. The Minnesota-certified clean marina program is a voluntary program encouraging marina operators to engage in environmentally sound operating and maintenance procedures. Jerry and Roxanne were on the founding task force in 2012 and both serve on the current board of directors. Being good corporate citizens is important to the Rockvam family. They also support local high school programs and fundraisers.

Roxanne is also proud of the summer employment they offer to teenagers. “It’s really amazing to think about how many people we’ve impacted by giving them their first job,” she says. With young people coming back to work for three or four seasons, the Rockvams have developed a steady supply of trained summer help—and the young people are learning how to handle real responsibility. “When you are taking care of someone else’s boat, you are dealing with an expensive piece of property, and you have to be aware of safety at all times,” Roxanne says.

Safety on the lake is another thing she feels strongly about. “You should be prepared to deal with common safety problems, because the people in the next boat might not be prepared,” she explains. Roxanne shares her top tips for a safe outing on the water:

Make sure your maintenance is current. It’s important that you use only non-ethanol gas, for example, because you probably aren’t starting your boat every day and ethanol gas will deteriorate if left sitting in the tank.

Have basic safety items on board, like lifejackets, a first aid kit and fire extinguisher—and make sure the fire extinguisher is charged and working.

Starting this year, boaters are required to have a carbon monoxide detector (and display stickers) if any part of your boat is an enclosed space. There’s only one kind approved for boats, and you can find it at local marinas.
And, of course, make sure your boat is properly registered and displaying all the right stickers from the DNR.

The Rockvam Boat Yards are located on the south shore of the west arm of Lake Minnetonka. Looking northwest across the lake each evening, Roxanne takes a few moments out of her day to photograph the sunset. You can sign up for a daily email on the company’s website or go to Instagram to enjoy a summer sunset, even if you can’t make it down to the shore.