Goodtime I
Lake Erie Island Cruises
The Goodtime I has been a staple of the Sandusky community for over 30 years. The Goodtime I is a cruise ship docked at Jackson Street Pier that offers customers a tour of Lake Erie and the surrounding islands. The business was founded in 1985 by Joe Smith and in 2007 was purchased by Joe Lamb. Joe has had plenty of experience being a captain of a ship this size having spent 16 years as captain of the Jet Express. He was excited for the opportunity to work for himself and face the challenges of being a business owner.
When taking over a legacy company with a 20+ year history, Joe knew there would be a need to refresh strategies to grow the Goodtime. Joe set out to develop varied and customized cruise options to draw in new customers and continue to expand the business. He focused on designing options to fit every chapter of boating season in northern Ohio. In the Summer, he offers a daytime island-hopping cruise that takes customers to Kelleys Island and Put-In-Bay while giving a narrated tour along the way. The ship takes off at 9:30 and doesn't return until 6:30, giving customers a full day of fun. The island trips are complemented by Goodtime’s Friday Party Cruise, Sunset Cruises, and Sunday Funday. A few of these cruise lines are available in the fall as well as the famous Browns Cruise, which takes place during morning or afternoon games of the Cleveland Browns where customers all come aboard and cheer the team on while enjoying pizza and a cash bar. With an eye to the future, Joe’s got several new experiences in the works for the 2022 season as well.
Fast Facts
  • Employs 25 people
  • Can fit a maximum capacity of 310 passengers and will transport 15,000 people between May and October.
  • The Goodtime I uses 1,500 gallons of fuel every week
An aspect of the job that Joe enjoys the most is the opportunity to give local children a chance to get out on the lake. He has worked with schools and organizations to give children the opportunity to come on board and take a tour of Lake Erie while pointing out all the unique sites along the way. This is one example of how Joe sees himself having the ability to give back to his community.

And it’s one reason why Joe received the support he did in his time of need this year. After facing 3 years of uncontrollable circumstances, hurting his business, and facing large repair costs, the Goodtime I was ready to retire. However, when this was announced, our community sprang to action to preserve this community staple. A fundraiser was quickly initiated and received wide support from individuals all across our community.

With the extra boost and groundswell of support, Joe is excited for the future. The Goodtime returned to the water in 2021 and he is working closely with our office to plan and execute new ideas to evolve his business model while continuing to offer the same beloved opportunities as before. Joe is committed to keeping the Goodtime I around in our community for residents and travelers of all ages to enjoy.
Did You Know?
Investments in any business is no small decision. Validating our region's market need for a facility or service type and understanding the business model necessary to stay open are questions ECEDC can help you answer. If you're considering opening a new business or renovating a current one and need help crunching the numbers or finding additional support tools - Contact us for assistance.
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The 12 Days of Development email series recognizes and celebrates another year of progress in Erie County, Ohio. Throughout the weeks of December, you will receive email spotlights on a company investing, improving and innovating in our community. We can't capture it all, so let us know a neighbor we missed or what activities you've got planned to make the 2022 list! #ErieCounty12Days