Erieau fishing charter foresees losses as fuel prices rise

If you think gas prices are high for those on the road, those on the water are in an even worse boat.

Boaters need to put premium fuel in their engines, and according to Captain Paul Powis, the current price in the Erieau area is around $2.15 a litre.

Powis, who runs J&P Fishing Charters, said he expects to lose up to a quarter of his business due to rising costs.

He budgeted $2 a liter this year and booked customers based on that expense, so now he expects to lose money and customers. He had already raised his prices by 10%, but that will not be enough to cover the costs, and the business is also dependent on the weather.

“I’ve been doing this for a long, long time and I’m retired…but some of the guys who are doing this as a full-time livelihood, they’re in a tough spot,” he said.

Paul Powis is a charter fishing captain who operates out of the Erieau area. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Inflation in Canada hit 6.7% in March, and fuel prices were a major driver. Gasoline prices have risen nearly 40% since March of last year, according to Statistics Canada.

And while it’s unlikely that anyone trusts their pleasure craft as much as their vehicle, boaters feel a little uneasy about it.

Boater Tracie Berekoff, of Windsor Power and Sail Squadron, said boaters won’t stop boating because of rising prices, but will likely be a bit more careful in how they do it.

She said she was already a thrifty boater.

“We turn off our engine and float,” she said. “We might just go to a restaurant for dinner. But if we go there for the day, we’ll drop anchor and pretty much stay there for the day. So our navigation won’t change, but I’m sure a lot other people will.”

Faiez Shamoon, owner and mechanic of Lakefront Marine Inc., which sells and services boats, said rising gas prices shouldn’t affect small watercraft too much.

And in the meantime, the demand for boats is strong.

“We cannot keep any boats in stock,” he said.

Robert A. Glidden