Gas prices to impact boaters this summer

CASSOPOLIS, Mich.,--This Memorial Day Weekend, the warm and sunny weather may have wanting to cool off on the lake. But rising gas prices could change those plans. We may see less boaters out on the lake this summer, and it’s not only because it’s costing more to fill up the tank but also less people are going on vacations too because of inflation and gas prices.

The manager of Park Shore Marina in Cassopolis, Kathy said the high prices are going to hurt most vacation-goers.

“Ones that would spend 100 a week or 150 a week are ending up spending 300 dollars because of the gas prices,” Kathy. “And it’s going to cost them twice as much for cooking out and everything else because everything’s gone up.

Luckily, at Park Shore Marina, the only price increase you’ll see here is for a can of pop thanks to an increase in distributor’s prices, but boat rental prices are staying the same.

However, it’s going to cost more to fill up that rental, especially for larger boats, towing skiiers and tubers--a day on the lake can empty your tank.

Head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy , Patrick DeHaan says, this may not change anytime soon.

“The concern is that we could actually see prices rise even more into the summer,” said DeHaan. So, not any significant relief until maybe the fall when we see a little bit of a decline in price. But I still think we’ll be talking about gas prices over four dollars a gallon for maybe the rest of the year.

If you want to save money on the water, DeHaan recommends that you fill up at a gas station if you can, as marinas along the shore tend to have more expensive gasoline, costing more than 5 dollars a gallon.

As Memorial Day kicks off as the unofficial start of summer, many are expected to cruise on the lakes this weekend, but high gas prices can may make you want to drop an anchor on your upcoming plans. On Diamond Lake, Kathy says Park Shore Marina is used to seeing a flock of folk each summer.

“There’s people that come here from California, that come from Texas. Once they’ve been here on vacation, a lot of them come back every year,” said Kathy.

The visitors may change this year. Kathy has managed Park Shore Marina for more than a decade. She says it’s too early to tell what the prices are going to do for the business this summer, but the outlook is not promising.

“And the people that would fly here, it’s going to cost them twice as much because they raised the prices on everything,” said Kathy.  

However, gas prices are not impacting smaller boats quite as much, so there will still be traffic on the smaller lakes.

“The cruising boats that have the smaller motors, you can fill up the gas tank for 60 to 70 dollars depending on the gas prices at the time and it could go a whole week,” said Kathy.

Like those cruising boats, fishing boats don’t use up much gas but the trucks that haul the boats take up quite a bit. Niles resident Jeffery Celie says it costs $120.

“Now we try to stay closer to home because of the fuel prices of towing the boat,” said Celie.

Celie’s fished for almost 50 years. He typically travels up to Decatur or Kalamazoo for fishing but these gas prices are making it a drag to haul his vehicle. Luckily, we caught him on a good day, he caught his limit but that could be due to less boat traffic.

“Normally, this time of year, this lake, usually we’ll have ten, twelve boats here and you see there’s two boats here,” said Celie.  “The fishing’s well, but I think people are staying closer to home and staying at home because they don’t want to have the big gas bill.”

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