The high waters of the St. Croix River mean the spring boating season will likely be delayed, perhaps by up to a month, as marinas have been forced to hold off on launching the vessels in their care.

Some marinas in Stillwater, Afton and Hudson, Wis., have had to build temporary berms to protect their offices, while others have had no choice but to let the river run through their property. It's not fun, marina managers said, but it's not unexpected at any of the longtime businesses that the river sometimes takes control of the calendar.

"It's a flood," said Ken Wolf of Wolf Marine in Stillwater, adding that his third-generation marina has been through the routine before.

The marinas along the Lower St. Croix have had to contend with rising waters this month as the river reached 89.26 feet this week, more than 2 feet above flood stage. The National Weather Service forecast says river levels should fall for several days into next week but could still be a foot above flood stage Wednesday.

At Sunnyside Marina just south of Stillwater, boat lift operators should be launching some 40 boats a day this week. But with the river about 15 feet higher than normal, marina staff have had to build a temporary berm to ensure the marina's office stays dry, general manager Rick Chapman said.

"We can't lift boats because the lift is 3 feet underwater," he said.

The marina typically tries to have all of its boats launched by Memorial Day, but that's unlikely this year. Even if the marina can start launching around May 8, it would take five weeks of putting eight boats in the river a day to take care of everyone.

For now, Chapman monitors the flood and keeps Sunnyside's members informed of the marina's plans. "We look at this a million times a day," he joked, holding up the National Weather Service website on his phone.

Even with the delays, Chapman said he considers the marina lucky because it sits on high ground and none of the boats stored on land for the winter is in danger of floating away.

The summer boating season has also been pushed back at Afton Marina and Yacht Club Inc., where service manager Kris Symanietz praised her staff for its hard work to keep boats safe. The marina's lower elevation meant most of their boats had to be put into the river to prevent the flood from lifting them off of their winter storage spots and possibly carrying them away. Symanietz said marina staff put in 12-hour days through snowy and cold conditions to get some 160 boats into slips and tied up before the flood hit.

Once the water recedes a bit more, the service crews will start "summerizing" the boats, which generally means cleaning the engine and changing oil and filters. In a more typical year, the marina would have started launching boats April 17.

"We would be in our second week of launch right now," Symanietz said.

At the Stillwater Marina on the north end of downtown Stillwater, about half of the boats have been launched. Those remaining have been moved to higher ground or left in a large metal barn, which sits a few feet above the river's peak so far this year. The West Marine store at the marina wasn't as lucky: It shut down with about a foot of water in the store. The business isn't expected to open for at least a week, said an employee at West Marine's Minnetonka location.

In Hudson, manager Jeff Holmes at the St. Croix Marina said "a great volunteer crew" helped build a 4-foot berm around the building to keep it dry during the flood. Yacht club staff moved 50 to 75 boats to higher ground and launched the rest before the flood arrived, he added.

"Now it's more of a wait and see," Holmes said.