gas prices

Boating Industry Bracing for Diesel Fuel Price Hit

The sportfishing season has just begun, and many in the industry are expecting the hit

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Gas prices aren't just hitting us at the pump, but on the water too. That next sportfishing or whale watching trip might be a little pricier. In America’s finest city, the fishing and watersport industries are major players in the economy.

The sportfishing season has just begun, and many in the industry are expecting the hit.

Captain Jamie Thinnes docked his boat in the late afternoon Sunday, after a full day chartered sportfishing tour. He told NBC 7, the cost to fill up was a little steep: almost three times more than just a year ago.

“We were at $3.75 and I just filled up. It was like $8 almost,” said Thinnes.

It’s not affecting what he charges his clients, yet.

“They’re having to pay fuel to get down here from LA so it’s like we aren’t trying to pass it on to them quite yet," said Thinnes.

But it’s only the first weekend of the season and in San Diego Bay, most boats appeared to be docked.

“These guys basically don’t get started until June. So I get to start a little earlier cause I’m a smaller operation. We fish a little bit closer and they fish a little further,” said Thinnes.

Carl Schmidt at Fisherman's Landing said he's already getting calls from customers.

“Literally we just started catching tuna two days ago. Getting our first boats off the dock. So fuel prices right now, they seem to be pretty stable,” said Schmidt.

That’s for now. The landings or boat tour booking agencies estimate the season ahead and quote their prices accordingly. A few dollars more per gallon can add up.

“Now I’m adding three, four, five hundred dollars of a fuel surcharge. They weren’t planning on that when they booked the trip three months ago,” said Schmidt.

Schmidt said they'll take the brunt of the cost for as long as they can. There are a lot of people on the payroll though, from the captain, to the staff at the landing, to the crew.

“If it’s $6 dollars a gallon, there goes the profit or any way to make a living for these guys. These guys do run on thin margins unfortunately,” said Schmidt.

They hope the increase in prices won’t keep too many boats in the harbor.

“With everything in the world going on we don’t know what’s gonna happen with fuel prices,” said Schmidt. “It’s about being fair to the business and the customer.”

That’s the plan for as long as they can stay afloat.

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