LAKE OUACHITA, Ark. – Summertime brings road trips, ATVs, and lawnmowers, all things that require fuel.
But another hot-weather activity sweating over gas prices is boating.
With hot temperatures and sunny skies, heading out to the water should be the perfect launch to a summer weekend. But in the middle of a June Friday, many marinas on Lake Ouachita sit stagnant, not a boat in sight.
“Friday, usually around noon to two, we usually start to pick up,” said Bradley Rieman with Safe Harbor Brady Mountain marina. “Right now, we haven’t had a boat in about an hour or two.”
It’s unusually quiet when by all accounts, the harbor should be packed. But one possible reason is what it costs to get out on the lake – now up to $6.59 a gallon in some places, $6.61 in others.
“Just about every boat that comes in, as soon as they look right here at the gas price you just see their face,” Rieman said. “[The price] went up probably at least 50 cents a week if not more.”
The major jump is taking its toll, causing some boaters to stay docked when the lake should be packed. For Rieman and other marinas across the state, it’s a worry.
“They need to come down a lot or our business, we’re going to be dead slow like this all summer,” he explained.
One boater pulling in admitted he prefers to fill up the tank before he enters the water, finding a place away from the marina on land in the hopes of getting a lower price.
Rieman said Saturdays are the busiest days for the marina, so he’s expecting more families will be out over the weekend. And with July 4th only a few weeks away, he’s hoping boaters will hit the water regardless of where the price falls.