A Family Affair

Sisters go Boating on Lake Erie and the Niagara River

Family and boating seem to go hand in hand, so what better way to spend a Friday afternoon on the water than with my sister and Tim Nicholls, the owner of family owned and operated Nicholls Marine? Seemed like a perfect combination to me!

Boating has always been a favorite past time of mine – I remember spending time as a child boating and tubing in Southern Ontario on Lake Erie and the Niagara River. It was time to feel like a kid again! I checked to make sure Tim was bringing a tube with him - because in my world, you can’t go boating without a tube… and of course, a fishing pole.

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Around the Niagara Region, I know a lot of people who tend to head to Northern Ontario to get their outdoors fix. There’s no doubt that the north is a beautiful, quiet and a tranquil place to visit; however, I think it’s important to remember that we have an awesome waterpark in our own backyard. The Niagara Region is a unique area sandwiched between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, in addition to some other beautiful waterways (the Niagara River, Welland Canal, and Chippawa Creek to name a few).

The Niagara Region boasts an amazing place for fishing, boating, and watersports to be enjoyed by the entire family. I learned on this adventure that the Niagara River is considered the best steelhead river in all of North America! Of course, there is also great fishing for Lake Trout, Brown Trout, Bass, Musky, and Walleye fishing in the Niagara River as well.

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So on a beautiful Friday afternoon, my sister and I made our way to Nicholls Marine, in the Town of Fort Erie. We learned that this family business has been operating for 57 years! It’s located adjacent to the Niagara River and a boat ramp, which provides an ideal location for the business. Nicholls Marine deals primarily with Legend Boats, and boating accessories for fishing, pleasure or a combination of both.

The owners, Tim and Judy Nicholls, informed us that we would be going out on a 20-foot Legend Xcalibur. This boat had it all: ample seating, removable bow cushions, two aerated live wells, rear swim platform, rod storage and so much more! I wiped the drool from my mouth and quickly called dibs on the chair located next to our captain. I could barely hear the sound of the Mercury 115 4-stroke engine – I guess you could say it purred like a kitten.

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We cruised down the Niagara River, while learning about the history of the area from Tim. He has been a resident of Fort Erie for over 50 years, and is a wealth of knowledge. I learned that the benefit of having both Lake Erie and Niagara River in such close proximity allows boaters and fishermen (and women) the opportunity to choose their waterway depending on the weather that day. The area is versatile enough, in that one can easily transition to the Niagara River if the Lake is a bit too choppy.

We spent some time cruising along the Niagara River towards Niagara Falls – the current is strong and should not be underestimated in this area. At one point, Tim demonstrated how powerful the current was by putting the boat at 10 km/hr underneath the Peace Bridge, causing us to stay in place.   

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Looking to one side of the river, I saw Buffalo, New York, and to the other side, I saw the familiar landscape of my hometown. The greenery along the Niagara Parkway is something I’m familiar with, but usually experience from the other side when I’m cruising along the parkway on my motorcycle. The Niagara Parkway is a popular spot in Niagara for pretty much anything – biking, rollerblading, motorcycling, sunbathing, boating, fishing and more! Locals and tourists share the area in perfect contentment and relaxation, both in the water and on land.


Before I knew it, my inner kid started to come out. I knew it was time to unleash the child in me by riding on “the tube.” I was first in the water, and had a blast navigating the wake of the boat on an Airhead inflatable tube. I laughed and giggled, threw out a thumbs up, and then motioned to go faster. The Legend Xcaliber boat was perfect for towing, and the boat proved its adaptability that day – it was well suited to whatever activity we had in mind. My sister hopped in the tube next and had as much fun as I did – she climbed back on board after conquering the tube with a huge smile on her face. 

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As always, the day came to an end much too quickly. I managed to snag Tim for an interview about Nicholls Marine (Click HERE to watch the interview). After a day touring around with the Kline sisters, I would’ve expected him to be a bit weary and tired, but he had more energy than I did as he talked animatedly about boating, fishing, and operating a business in Southern Ontario. The passion and knowledge he exhibited while talking is a sought-after quality that many customers look for when making the decision to purchase a boat. A big thanks to Nicholls Marine for taking us out for the day to relive our childhood on the Niagara River!

About Jess Kline

Jess is a long-time motorsports enthusiast and promoter. She is owner of Backwoods Promotions, which specializes in motorsports, automotive & outdoors event staffing and marketing. When she isn't hard at work, Jess enjoys exploring the Backwoods of Ontario, whether riding her Suzuki SV650 down a winding road, or getting out on an ATV, snowmobile or boat! 

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