Central Ohio has a lot of boats.
The seven-county area is home to 79,746 boats registered with the state, including 36,553 in Franklin County and 14,081 in Delaware County, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Such numbers mean limited space is available for docking the boats at area lakes.
As a result, the ODNR will hold a lottery for 43 boat docks available in 2020 at the Alum Creek State Park marina in Lewis Center. Lottery applications must be received by Aug. 30.
Jason Meyers, Alum Creek park manager, said the lake has 240 dock slips, open on one end with walkways on three sides. Twenty-nine are designated to the marina concessionaire, who rents boats to the public.
"Both Alum Creek and Delaware state parks offer lakes with unlimited horsepower," said Heidi Hetzel-Evans of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Watercraft.
"Alum Creek is great for water-skiing and other towing sports while Delaware offers boat camping at several areas," she said.
For those who bring a boat from home, Meyers said, Alum Creek has four boat ramps open to the public, plus one ramp for those staying at the campground. Each ramp has a number of parking spaces.
"If a ramp is too congested, a natural-resource officer may direct boaters to another ramp with more availability," he said.
Meyers said kayaks, canoes, rowboats, personal watercraft such as Jet Skis, paddle boats and sailboats are allowed at Alum Creek's boat ramps. Alum Creek also has three kayak-paddle sport ramps.
All watercraft have to be registered with the state, he said, including canoes and kayaks.
"For folks who prefer paddling, Mount Gilead State Park is a perfect lake for novice paddlers," Hetzel-Evans said. "Ohio has seen a huge growth in paddling sports in recent years. In addition to lakes, central Ohio has some great paddling streams, including the Olentangy, Kokosing and Big and Little Darby."
The lottery winners will receive a five-year contract on a boat dock. Each dock has an annual fee, based on dock size and amenities.
The fees range from $445 for a mooring ball to $1,640 for a 32-foot dock with electric and water utilities.
At the end of the five-year contract, the dock goes back into the lottery, Meyers said.
Applications may be picked up in the Alum Creek State Park office, 3305 S. Old State Road.
Prospective dock holders must provide a copy of their current boat title and watercraft registration. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Entries will be accepted by mail or in person.
The lottery drawing will be held at the park office at 9 a.m. Sept. 14.
Lottery participants don't need to be present to win. Winners will be notified by phone and by mail.
Meyers said the division of watercraft divides the state into districts.
"Alum Creek is located in the Central District. This district includes Alum Creek, Delaware, Mount Gilead, Indian Lake, Lake Loramie, Deer Creek, Madison, Buckeye Lake and A.W. Marion state parks," he said. "Alum Creek, Indian Lake and Buckeye are all very popular lakes for boaters."
Other counties in the district and their number of registered boats are Fairfield, 8,880; Licking, 10,923; Madison, 2,761; Pickaway, 3,374; and Union, 3,174, according to the ODNR.
For more information on types of docks and other details, call the Alum Creek State Park and Watercraft office at 740-548-4631.