NewsLocal NewsLee County


Charter anglers forced to pass high gas prices to customers

Gas costs up $6 dollars a gallon for boaters
Posted at 10:29 PM, Mar 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-22 22:33:35-04

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — Charter anglers out of Getaway Marina in Fort Myers Beach are having trouble staying afloat with high gas prices, with no choice but to pass the rising costs to customers at the peak of spring break Season.

According to AAA, on Monday the average cost of a gallon of gas in Florida sat at $4.16, however for boaters gas costs more, as explained by Captain Dan Bridgers of Sun and Fun Charters.

"Unfortunately our gas prices have at least doubled," Bridgers said. "Boats have a sensitive fuel system. So, you have to pay more to get the pure gas and not something with ethanol in it."

Bridgers does smaller charters in the back bays, so he's not burning a lot of gas, but still, he says the gas prices have doubled his costs.

According to an online Waterway Guide for boaters, gas is up as high as $6 dollars a gallon at some marinas in Southwest Florida.

"We are spending about $100-110 dollars s day, and it used to only costs us $40 dollars a day," Bridges said. "Its making a difference and it does hurt."

He said he's forced to pass those rising costs to customers in the middle of the spring break season.

"It's a shame we have to pass those costs on, but we do," he added.

It's even more damaging to Captains with bigger charter boats who have to go several miles out just to get too big fishing.

"This fuel is just unbelievable," said Captain Robert 'Bobby B' Birch, with Fishing Overboard Charters. "You have to get 90 to 100 miles out before you really catch some fish, it's still tough."

Birch showed us a receipt showing he'd just pay $1,550 dollars to fill up his tank for a full-day charter, that he normally charges $1,800 - having no choice but to raise his prices.

"Same thing with us, we were at $1,800 all day and we went to $2,000," Birch added.

The good news for both fishermen is people are still paying. Tourism leaders adding 2022 is set to be a record-breaking year. Already seeing a 48% increase in tourism tax dollars collected in January compared to 2021, according to a Lee County Tourist Development Council report.

"Luckily, we have been busy," Bridgers said. "They understand. I've been surprised but people have been understanding about it."