Nestled deep in the trees in a picturesque cove along the Lake Winnebago shore is a place where all AirVenture visitors should try to visit: the Seaplane Base, where the runway requirements specify depth as well as length.
The Seaplane Base offers a respite from AirVenture's hustle and bustle. People often just sit on the shore and watch the planes come and go, and attendees can also enjoy a free pontoon boat ride complete with descriptions of the various seaplanes parked at the base.
Seaplane and amphib owners can camp at the seaplane base, and all AirVenture attendees can access forums, workshops, and exhibitors related to seaplanes and amphibs.
The Seaplane Base is presented by Wipaire Inc. and support provided by Honda Marine and Icom America.
Transport to the Seaplane Base
Buses make regular runs between the AirVenture grounds and the Seaplane Base, departing from the Bus Park Tower just outside the Main Gate and the Amphib Parking area at the south end of the airport ($3 round trip for this shuttle).
Flying in: The Seaplane Base (identifier 96WI) is located on the west shore of Lake Winnebago, 5 miles southeast of Wittman Regional Airport and the convention site. Seaplane arrivals should avoid nearby Class C and D airspace and SHOULD NOT use the Fisk VFR arrival route. Approaches and departures should be to the east over Lake Winnebago. CAUTION: When Runway 36L departure procedures are in effect during AirVenture, aircraft departing Wittman Regional Airport (OSH) on Runway 36L will fly just west of the Seaplane Base at or below 1,300 feet MSL. Contact the Seaplane Base (123.3 or 920-230-7829) for water condition information and current Seaplane Base information.
Driving in: the address is 5202 Streich Lane, Oshkosh, WI 54902. Phone number to the Base is 920-230-7829 (AirVenture week only).
The Watermelon Social presented by Wipaire, Inc. is the Seaplane Base's big annual event, held on Saturday night. The event started back in 1989 with a few seaplane pilots and volunteers who happened to have a watermelon, and is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019.
In its early days there were only a few people attending who enjoyed conversation, camaraderie and “hangar flying”. This social event grew larger in its popularity with its picturesque backdrop and now serves 700 people. This is an opportunity to meet seaplane pilots from all over the world and share stories and acquire friendships.
After a busy week of enjoying all of what AirVenture has to offer, sitting on the shoreline of Lake Winnebago with 100 floating airplanes moored is the perfect setting for a social event. Food for the dinner event is on Saturday evening of AirVenture starting at 5:00 p.m. and is served until 7:00 p.m. Social activities continue through 9:00 p.m. Machine Shed is serving barbeque pork sandwiches, baked beans, coleslaw, and veggies along with beer, soda, water and, of course, watermelon. Take home a souvenir glass mug and you might even win a door prize!
Tickets are $15 each and available throughout the week at the Seaplane Base Registration Office. This is a popular event and tickets do sell out so get yours while they last!
Check the AirVenture schedule of events for more Seaplane Base activities and forums >>