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Boaters try to keep afloat with high gas prices

Posted March 23, 2008
Updated October 19, 2011

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— Rising gas prices are hitting boaters hard this spring. The national average price for gasoline rose 7 cents over the last two weeks, according to the Lundberg Survey.

"It's the price you pay. It's just the way it is,” boater Steve Dunlap said.

Dunlap was among those spending Sunday on Jordan Lake.

"It (his boat) doesn't get very good gas mileage. It's a gas guzzler,” he said.

It cost as much as $120 dollars to fill up Dunlap's boat.

"I was in paying for the sodas and the candy bars and he was paying for the gas, so I was OK with it,” boater Rob Wiggins said as he laughed about getting off easy at the checkout.

Wiggins was visiting Dunlap for a weekend of fishing.

"With these recent rains, I guess, it's almost normal now. So it's good to see it (Jordan Lake) back,” Dunlap said.

The lake has remained full throughout the ongoing drought. At 3 feet above normal, boaters didn't fear hitting stumps and rocks as they rode Jordan Lake Sunday.

"We don't do much riding. We mostly go out and park,” boater Larry McEachern said.

Being conservative with gas, McEachern says he can take three to four boat trips on a $50 tank.

"We try to ignore it (gas prices). It's kind of one them things like you know you've got to have it, so why make any noise about it,” he said.

“I think that's what this gas is doing. The people with pleasure boats that are up and down, up and down on a Saturday and Sunday that do it all weekend long, you may see them do it one day a week now,” Wiggins said.

The national average price of self-serve regular gasoline on Friday was $3.26 a gallon.

AAA officials said they expect the cost of gasoline to continue to rise in the coming months.

"We expect gasoline prices to continue their upward spiral between now and Memorial Day," David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas, said. "Refineries retool in the spring for burning cleaner summer-blend gasoline and regular maintenance at a time when driving usually increases."

Parsons, though, doubted that prices would reach $4 a gallon in North Carolina, saying drivers would likely spend less time behind the wheel as prices rise.

12 Comments

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  • PCguy Mar 24, 2008

    Boats rock! One day, I too, will own a boat.

    Until that day, I will enjoy my 248CC motorcycle, and my 70+ MPG. That'll help make up for one or two of you boaters out there! See, I'm doing my part, what goes around, comes around =) My car gets 20/30.

    SUV's do use a large portion of gas. That's fine with me, they pay more gas tax. Personally, I'd like to see a higher tax on SUV's AND a lower speed limit. Raise the limit by 10-15MPH for cars, and keep the same for SUV's. My car impacting at 85MPH, would probably do less damage than their "tank" at 70MPH.

    Why don't boaters get a discount on gas like 'off-highway diesel' users do?

    Just a thought...

  • RonnieR Mar 24, 2008

    As a former boat owner, to ole now, I never asked guests to pay. That seems hardly sociable! One thing that you gotta always remeber and never forget, a boat is a hole in the water in to which you pour money and if you gotta worry about the costs of operation, you don't need one.

  • urbizn Mar 24, 2008

    For those of you who have expressed disdain for recreational boaters as "a pure waste", "if ya want to play ya gotta pay", "not feeling sorry for some fisherman's wallet",or "boo hoo", keep in mind that thousands of people in NC make their living by manufacturing, selling, storing, and servicing boats, or by selling fishing tackle, or employment as fishing guides. Downturns in the boating/fishing industry caused by high fuel prices directly affect these jobs.

    And by the way, Animal Lover, we boaters DO conserve water - it is a fact of life for us because we carry a limited supply aboard (where do you think the term and concept of the "Navy shower" came from??!??)....not to mention that here in Raleigh those of us who visit Falls Lake must depend on the water level being high enough to safely launch, operate, and retrieve our craft.

    Crazee1 & C. Boyer - another HALLELUJAH from the choir!

  • WXYZ Mar 24, 2008

    Boating for me is a hobby, which provides rest, relaxation and recreation, which are a necessary part of healthful living. My 115 hp outboard gets 3-5 mpg, varying with speed--so that's, at least, a little over $1.00 per mile--so we don't do much crusing--but more people on the boat makes it more cost effective. The BIG SHAME is that people are using their trucks & SUV's less and less on weekends to tow their boats & trailers. Conversly, I see way too many people using big, 6 and 8 cylinder trucks and SUV's (many of which don't even have a trailer hitch!) to commute to work, which average (what?), 10-14 mpg. That adds up to millions of gallons of gas wasted in stop and go traffic and intersections. If we all used 4 cylinder cars to commute to work, we might reduce gas consumption by up to 40%, which would force the price of fuel down. And we all know the price of fuel has a direct effect the price of everything else we buy, so through a group effort, we could reverse inflation.

  • Tripwire Mar 24, 2008

    My boat is a sailboat with diesel auxilary. I only need the engine to get in and out of the dock. If I didn't have a boat, well I guess I would have no reason to go to work at all. If I could live on my boat 24x7 I would. One day I will. The boat fuel is not that bad but driving to the coast is the bad part.

  • Gerbil Herder Mar 24, 2008

    Boo-hoo...

  • beachboater Mar 24, 2008

    Animal Lover - I guess you just don't get it as far as recreation goes do you? I got my first boat when I was 7 years old, and I've had at least one ever since. Right now I have a yard full of them. When gas hit 65ยข a gallon many years ago, I said the boat was gone. Well it wasn't gone then, and it won't be gone now either.

    That's my thing, and it's a lot of other people's thing too. I'll probably go less this year, but I'll still go. And it has absolutely nothing to do with ego.

  • charlesboyer Mar 24, 2008

    "Remember this motto, "Boats don't run on Thanks."

    Amen and a Hallelujah from the choir.

    It is amazing to me how many times people "forget their wallets" or say "can I get you next time" when we take them out on the lake for the afternoon.

    Fortunately, most of my friends don't do that, but there are some...

  • ncmickey Mar 24, 2008

    $80 a fill up, 2 X a week for my work van. I am NOT feeling sorry for some fishermans wallet....

  • Rolling Along Mar 24, 2008

    If they were fisherman trying to make a living I would feel for them. Otherwise...it ain't news. If you wanna play ya gotta pay.

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