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High fuel prices impacting summer business for marina

A typical slow season has turned into an off-season for at least one marina operator, who said yesterday that the steep rise in the price of diesel has turned his property into a “graveyard.”

Owner of Flying Fish Marina on Long Island Mario Cartwright told Guardian Business that the price of diesel, which has risen 11 cents over the course of this month, is making it even more difficult to attract clients during this part of the year, when fuel expenses usually drop during the slow period.

“The marina business is a seasonal business and we’ve had a very good season this year, but right now it’s unusually quiet,” Cartwright said.  “I blame that partly on the fact that fuel prices are high and still climbing, and people who own yachts keep track of it and it turns them away.”

Cartwright mentioned that regular gasoline prices on the island dropped 20 cents from $6.04 to $5.84 between the start of June to the end of July, but the spike in diesel from $5.40 to $5.51 during that same period was surprising.

Another area that is hurting his business is the proximity of his marina to the U.S., which puts him at an even greater disadvantage during this time of year.

“Other marinas closer to the U.S. may not have the same problem as us in terms of traffic, but the further south a marina is from the U.S. the harder it is to attract customers around this time of year,” he said.  “For Exuma, Grand Bahama and Nassau, their proximity to the U.S. will bring in yachts even during this time of year.  But for an operation like mine in the southern Bahamas it’s more challenging, and combine that with fuel prices and it’s even tougher. The closer you are to Florida the longer your season lasts.”

The Flying Fish Marina owner told Guardian Business in an earlier interview in April that the success of his business heavily depends on diesel prices, regardless of how much interest is shown in terms of pre-summer bookings. Having experience with the oil industry — being the owner of two service stations on Long Island — Cartwright said he will have to keep an eye on the global trends.

“I’m not a chemical engineer to fully understand the dynamics behind oil, but it goes back to world trends,” he said. “Whatever happens on the stock market will play a role in what we pay in diesel, and me and other marina operators are hoping for the best.”

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