Boat owners feel pain at the pump at the pier

Take the high price of gasoline, add water, and you have got an expensive start to the boating season.

The pain at the pump appears to be even greater at the pier.

For Lake Michigan marinas, four dollar a gallon gas is a thing of the present.

One marina along the St. Joseph River near Lake Michigan was selling gas today for $4.26 a gallon. Some boaters say that’s a price they’ll be paying long after the summer is gone.

“Maybe we’ll skip a winter vacation to keep the gas in the boat, we would preference the boat,” said Ted Schaefer while standing near his Chris Craft. Schaefer explained, “our boat holds 350-gallons so if you’re talking four dollars plus a gallon you’re at 15-hundred or maybe 16-hundred dollars, it’s a lot of money.”

Meantime, the prospect of buying gas for the boat in today’s market has some boat owners thinking the unthinkable.

“You know, it’s getting into my pocketbook,” said boat owner Ken Maple. “In fact, we’ve even, we’re even discussing maybe about selling the boat, but selling a boat my size, which is a 40-foot boat, is like selling housing now, the market is just not there.”

Meantime, high gas prices appear to be here, there and everywhere, and charter captain Ken Neidlinger is trying to keep his head above water.

“When I’m running out to 300 feet of water, I get a mile a gallon, so far this spring I’ve been burning 100-dollars worth of gas every trip.”

Neidlinger is aggravated and philosophical at the same time. “We Americans will not give up our cars, or our boats…So if the gas is high…they’re going to have to put up with it.”

“People love to go fishing and they love to drive their cars and they’re going to put up with it.”

Although, putting up with it won’t be easy in many ways. For instance, one marina has an older gas pump that is not mechanically capable of computing and displaying the price of gas beyond $3.99 a gallon.

Apparently, the manufacturer never imagined the need for such a thing.

The marina is still selling gas. Employees simply have the pump track the number of gallons dispensed, and then multiple it by the going price.


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