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Gas Prices Soar for Boaters

Cars are not the only mode of transportation affected by high gas prices. Fuel can be costly for those who love to be on the water.

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HATTERAS — If you are heading to the beach this summer, you are probably already planning to spend more on gas to get you there. Once you are there, prepare to get hit again at the pumps.
Every year, for more than half a decade, Andrea Kephart and Ron Walker have chartered the same fishing boat, the Native Son, for a fishing adventure.

“The fishing’s been excellent, no doubt, we wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Kephart said.

But this year, they’ll need to fish a little deeper in their bank account to pay for it. The cost of fuel keeps going up -- a lesson charter boat Capt. D.M. Gray knows all too well.

“I bought this boat about 10 years ago. When I bought this boat we were paying 99 cents a gallon for fuel,” Gray said.

Now, the price of Gray's diesel fuel has nearly tripled.

“Well, our business is definitely been hurt in the last two or three years since the prices have really gone up. People just can’t drive here … everything is just more expensive. It’s definitely affected us,” Gray said.

“This is our seventh year coming out with D.M.,” Kephart said. “We’ve seen the prices go up in that timeframe about $200.

“We’ve had to budget additional dollars just for our gasoline to drive up here,” Kephart said.

Recreational boaters are feeling the pitch at the pump as well. But with tens of thousands of dollars tied up in their boat, they said it doesn’t make sense not to put it in the water.

Davis Compton trailered his boat to Hatteras from the western part of the state.

“I can’t afford not to put it in. I enjoy it too much.” Compton said. “Regardless of the price of gas, I’m still gonna pay, but it may limit the amount of trips I take.“

Scott Caldwell, who runs a small charter service, said the biggest expense to run his boat is fuel. He said his profit depends on one thing.

“The less I spend on fuel, the more I get to put in my pocket,” he said.

Gray said he’ll use 85 to 100 gallons of fuel a day to run his boat. That fuel adds up quickly to a lot of money -- money he knows will be tough to reel in from some customers.


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