Thursday, 15 September 2005
By BRANDI BARHITE
SANDUSKY - The rising price of gasoline hasn't kept people from boating -- or from looking to buy a boat, according to industry experts.
Despite gloomy skies and cooling temperatures, the 33rd annual North American Sail & Power Boat Show at Cedar Point Marina started Wednesday with a steady stream of visitors. The boat show runs through Sunday.
"It is encouraging, even after the hurricane it didn't stop people from buying gas for their boats," said Trey Hardy, boat salesman for Freemen Eckley of Vermilion. "People want to get away from the newcasts and the doom and gloom."
Sailboat sales are strong, but that has more to do with a person's preference, and less with sailboats using less gas, he said.
Gus Kleber, Valencia, Pa., attended the boat show Wednesday, thinking about buying a second boat.
The higher gas prices have made him think harder about using his 22-foot-long boat, but ultimately, haven't stopped him.
"I always fill it, but I take more people to help me share the cost," he said.
Kleber has been paying around $259 to fill his 90-gallon tank, which is about $2.88 per gallon, he said.
Shawn Fergus, advertising and public relations manager for the boat show's organizer, Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, said the average price of gas for boats has been $3.34 per gallon this season.
Filling up a boat is always a little more expensive than an automobile because marinas have to be maintained year-round, but only sell gas for a few months, he said.
Also, marinas have to charge more for gas because they have higher insurance in case the fuel gets into the water.
Fergus said gas sales have been up in northern Ohio this year because of the nice weather as well.
Bob Floyd, of Gross Ile, Mich., lives on his boat in the summer and says it takes "creative planning" to afford the rising prices. The highest he paid this year was $3.20 per gallon. Last year, he remembers paying less than $2.
"We still use the boat because we enjoy it," Floyd said.
Even boating accessories aren't affected by the rising gas prices, according to Mike Marquardt, sales associate for Wolf's Marine Inc., Benton Harbor, Mich.
However, many boaters are buying fuel kits so they can determine how much gas they are burning per mile, and adjust their speed, he said.
Also, boaters are changing the oil, and making sure their boats are running properly, which can also save on gasoline.
The North American Sail & Power Boat Show at Cedar Point Marina started Wednesday and runs through Sunday.
Seven hundred boats that include small daysailers, yachts, used boats and many new models are being featured.
Boat show hours are noon-7 p.m. today and Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $2 for children. Those 60 and older get in for $6.
Parking at Cedar Point is $9 per vehicle.
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