High prices at pumps not deterring boaters | SierraSun.com

High prices at pumps not deterring boaters

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunTiana Jones puts gas in a Sea Doo at Sunnyside Resort on Thursday. The rise in gas prices in the country is being noticed by boaters on Lake Tahoe, as well as drivers on the roads.

Boaters on Lake Tahoe typically expect gas prices lakeside to hover higher than on land, but like drivers, it’s just the cost of play and doing business.

Lee Schmidt of High Sierra Water Ski School runs his operation out of Sunnyside Marina. Offering water ski lessons, power boat and jet ski rentals, Schmidt said the cost of gas at the marina’s pump this year is higher than summers before. Currently $4.39 at Sunnyside, last summer Schmidt bought gas for $3.70. But, he said everywhere around Lake Tahoe fuel has jumped up.

Though the cost of gas has driven up Schmidt’s cost of business, he says it hasn’t scared away patrons.

“[Business] has been good; we cater to families,” Schmidt said. “I don’t think [high gas prices for boaters] makes a dent for the average person who owns a boat.”

Schmidt’s personal watercraft rentals include the cost of gas, which he says is standard. For $100 an hour rental, he says he pays about $30 of that to fill the tank, and he fills up the tanks one to two times a day. The power boat rental costs, however, do not include fuel.

Dockmaster at Sunnyside Marina Emily Elder is in her tenth summer on the lake serving boaters.

“It’s either ‘Wow, that’s expensive, or, oh, I don’t care,'” said Elder of boaters’ responses at the pump. Sunnyside Marina only pumps 87 octane, compared to other marinas on the North Shore that carry higher grades.

“You don’t really need higher than 87 on the lake,” Elder said. “It’s a subject that’s totally debatable, but some of the guys that have the big boats with high performance engines feel they need to put in 91.”

Elder said gas prices at the lake are usually a $1 to $1.10 more than land prices.

“The only time the gas price goes up is if we get a delivery [and the price is up],” she said. “We’re not pricing to compete.”

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