LAKE TEXOMA, Tex. - The lake season is just about here and Friday was a beautiful day to get out on the water. Marina staff says they're hoping to draw lots of boaters to the lake this summer, but do they expect high gas prices help business boom or bust?
We spoke to the fuel dock manager at Highport, who says even though the gas is high, from what he's seen, the weather alone is enough to bring people out.
Even though fuel prices here are typically 60 cents higher per gallon than the prices on high ground, it's apparently not stopping the boat traffic.
On Friday, Texoma Premier Boat Center broke ground in Denison. The owner, Thomas Webb is hoping gas won't be a deterrent. "As far as getting a good repair on a boat, or buying a new boat, you have to go so far as it is anyway, so this will bring people closer to home."
Webb says despite the current financial situation in the country, he isn't worried about a new boat business doing well. “I've been watching the news, and they say we're in a recession, but if you look at this area and the amount of growth, the other part of the country may be in a recession, but I really think it hasn't hit and won't hit this area."
At Highport Marina, fuel dock manager Marc Wilson says gas prices and the economy just aren't a problem. "Traditionally, it’s a luxury sector so it really hasn't affected us much, but we try to keep our margins low on gasoline."
It may be that luxury sector that makes the difference. On the lake, the average price of fuel is $3.89 a gallon. Diesel on the water is $4.59 a gallon.
"The way gas is set up and the way yachting is set up, these people have money set aside for gas and for a lot of these people; it really hasn't affected them that much."
Wilson says some people spend thousands just to fill up at the dock. "800 gallons sometimes. A lot of tanks on new the 54 footers have 800 gallon tanks on them."
Last summers floods literally wiped out the 2008 lake season and some expect that could be another reason people aren't staying away from the lake.
Wilson says, "People had really itchy palms last year. They wanted to get out regardless of gas prices and wanted to get out on the late, and the weather had a different plan, but this year it’s going to be insanely busy."
Highport and several other marinas across Lake Texoma are now open for the summer season. And even if you don't have a boat, there's still plenty to do without having to pay for fuel.