According to a recent report in The New York Times, analysts at Goldman Sachs have said that the deluge of oil released from strategic reserves over the past weeks will “help the oil market rebalancing in 2022” and potentially ease the need for reduced economic activity to bring consumption in line with dwindling petroleum supplies. What does this mean for the marina industry?
Gas prices at marinas across the country are currently averaging $6.30 for gas and $5.93 for diesel, according to new data from Dockwa. (Editor's note: Dockwa and Marinas.com are both part of The Wanderlust Group.) The data, which captures average fuel prices across marinas using the company's point-of-sale tool, showed a steady increase in prices overall with a spike in early March that has since modulated down but is still climbing heading into the summer.
Despite these increases in prices, the good news is the boating boom does not seem to be slowing down. Quite to the contrary, Dockwa data show that bookings at marinas are up 40 percent already this year over last. Boaters are boating.
"The juice is worth the squeeze. If you can’t afford the gas, chill at the docks. It’s not stopping me from making memories with loved ones. We’ll all adapt or stay on land, but we all know land sucks," says boater Adam P.
Another boater, Catherine M., says, “Our powerboat has a hybrid drive, so we’ll probably spend more time than ever in electric mode and less time in diesel mode.”
Judy M. shared her thoughts about fuel realities this season: “We traveled from Maryland to the Bahamas this winter and spent a crazy amount on fuel, so we’ve slowed down our swift trawler to economize. We’re getting used to slow and steady, enjoying the scenery.”
All comments proving that, at this point at least, boaters seem to be adapting how they boat before they think about cutting back.
Boat manufacturers are taking cues from automotive OEMs in the rush to develop next-generation electric-propulsion in the marine industry. In the past several years, e-propulsion brands such as ePropulsion, Vetus, and Torqueedo have been on the forefront of electric-power innovation and specialty OEMs such as X Shore, Ingenity (a division of Correct Craft), and Pure Watercraft, among others, are following suit. An innovative electric outboard developed in Europe called the Temo•450 is lightweight and easy to use to power dinghies and small boats; a U.S. company called Flux Marine is also developing electric outboards.
These marine e-propulsion systems generally charge while connected to a standard DC power outlet; however, companies are also working to manufacturing dockside charging stations so e-propulsion adopters can charge in the same way they’d fill up gasoline tanks at the pump.
A partnership between Tritium and Aqua superPower is resulting in the development of dockside chargers for electric boats or marine EVs. On a website description, Aqua superPower says it is the first marine-specific dockside fast-charging network for electric boats; its 150 kW superchargers are engineered for marine environments, the company says.
Battery manufacturers such as Mastervolt and others are also hard at work on improved battery technology, which should result in longer run times for e-propulsion outboards. Even back in the days of Thomas Edison, battery power was an impediment to the performance of electric vehicles—and then Henry Ford came along and popularized the combustion engine in the Ford Model T in 1908 and other early designs. We’ve been a petroleum-dependent culture ever since.
In addition to staying aware of the developments mentioned above, one consideration for marinas today is to check out Dockwa’s point-of-sale software to help control potential wait times at the marina gas pump. With this system, marina staff can replace an in-office credit-card terminal by swiping cards on the dock or charging the fuel directly to a boater’s Dockwa account. This can save time at the dock and create a better boater experience.
Gas prices, like happiness and the weather, are constantly changing—in the case of fuel, depending on many complex geopolitical and logistical factors.
The good news so far this season is that boaters continue to take to the water in record numbers.