Gas prices give marinas trouble

March 28, 2008 4:01:41 PM PDT
With diesel prices hovering around a record high, marinas are having trouble staying afloat. Fewer boaters seem to want to pay for the expensive fuel. The national average is $3.99 a gallon. A year ago it was $2.68 On a 60 degree day, boat captains like Mike O'Neill like nothing more than to hit the water, but these days, that hurts.

With diesel fuel hovering around record highs, O'Neill says an average trip that used to cost about $60, now costs him twice that amount.

He docks and fuels up at Sea View Harbor Marina in Egg Harbor Township.

"This marina actually has a waiting list to get in, but you don't see the boats moving." O'Neill said.

Fewer boats moving, which some experts are attributing to higher fuel costs, is bad for bsuiness.

Rob Barrett runs a bait and tackle and boat rental business here in Somers Point.

"I think we're all going to suffer this year because of the fuel problem," Barrett said.

A problem some analysts say is due to the fact that most marinas simply don't sell as much gasoline as service stations on land and that boosts the costs marinas have to pass onto customers.

Some marinas in New Jersey have had to lay off employees because of the trickle down effect.

James Peiklo says fortunately that has not been the case at Somers Point marina.

Over the years he's seen the ebb and flow of the boating industry.

"People will get used to the price of the fuel, whatever it is," Peiklo said.

Carl Seitz, who runs a fuel dock, says boaters will come up with their own fuel solution this season.

"I think there's going to be more people doubling up, getting on the boat together, and going out," Seitz said.