Pump prices keep boaters close to home

Boaters apparently are doing more floating than boating.
Marie Havenga
Aug 3, 2013

While gas pump prices on the street ramped up to more than $3.70 per gallon earlier this week, boaters will say that sounds like a bargain. Fuel at local marinas ranged from $4.71 to $4.89 a gallon this week.

John Plekker said he's given up on fueling his 38-foot Power Quest. The twin-engine powerboat is sitting on a trailer in Plekker's pole barn in Rockford, and he has it up for sale because of its fuel-thirsty ways.

Plekker opted to cruise around Grand Haven during Coast Guard Festival week in his 8-foot dinghy. He can motor all day with his 9.9-horsepower Evinrude on less than 3 gallons of gas.

The Power Quest averages about 1 mile to the gallon, Plekker said. It could suck down 200 gallons in four hours at fast speeds.

You do the math.

“I'm here on a frickin' dinghy, a rubber raft,” Plekker said. “Gas prices are that bad.”

Instead of piloting the boat to Mackinac Island as in low-cost-fuel days past, he trailered it, saving about $2,500.

“I used that boat 21 days last year,” Plekker said.

Coast Guard Festival Executive Director Mike Smith said he's noticed a marked decline in the number of pleasure boats motoring into Coast Guard City USA for the week's festivities.

“I think there are less boaters because, not only is there the cost of the boat, it's a very limited season for boats in Michigan some years, especially this one,” he said. “The cost of fuel definitely adds to any trip they may take out of the marina.”

Smith said “the wall” — where boats moor along the Grand Haven boardwalk — was packed on many sunny summer days a decade ago.

“I think there's a whole different boating mentality now, and it does factor in fuel costs,” he said. “I see less people on the wall and I'm not so sure they're coming from far distances.”

The city holds a lottery in the early spring to dole out slips at its Municipal Marina for festival week. Many of those landing spots are locals, according to marina crew leader Christie Boeve.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


Say no to new taxes

High fuel prices are killing a slowly recovering recovery, draining precious dollars that would have been spent elsewhere.


If you can't afford the gas, don't buy the boat.
Especially a gas hog like you chose to buy.
No sympathy!


Maybe we could all better afford the gas if the government permitted drilling on public lands, the Keystone Pipeline, and a more rational process for building refineries. I object to government policies that force people into dinghies and econoboxes that are unsafe and not family friendly, in an effort to stop non-existent global warming.


If you think global warming is a myth, I have some ocean front property in Arizona I think you might be interested in!


Why in the US of A are we settling for a lower standard of living? Just because you can't afford something doesn't mean someone else shouldn't PML. I feel sad for you when you want to tear down someone else's lifestyle to make them unhappy like you.

Prices are artificially inflated and manipulated. If we were running out of oil I could understand the prices. We are not and we have the technologies to extract more. We need to demand more investigations into this manipulation game.

Why isn't this gaining more speed?http://www.bloomberg.com/news/20...

Hello, Eric Holder where are you? http://www.reuters.com/article/2...

We also have alternative options that would work to diversify supply and bring demand down on oil. The best alternatives remain untapped to their full potential! http://cleantechnica.com/2012/03...
In my opinion natural gas is a great option. With competing supply options the FREE market would control prices.

We need to demand fair practice in markets, get the politics out out of the way and unleash this countries once great entrepreneurial spirit to resolve this. If not, shut up and pedal your bikes!

Tri-cities realist

But wait, if global warming is NOT a myth, then won't the catastrophic rise in ocean levels make Arizona into ocean front property? I'm so confused.

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