Area marinas are missing the boat(s)

ALPENA — At least some marinas in Northeast Michigan have literally missed the boat as have they scrambled to get their harbors ready in time for this year’s recreational boating season.

Though the Harrisville muncipal marina has since opened, Harbormaster Jim Ferguson recently told the Harrisville City Council that, because of construction, he had to turn away more than a dozen boats who wanted to fuel up at the harbor.

Harrisville’s marina underwent a $2.5 million renovation and Ferguson said contractors put in 12-hour days to get marina’s fuel pump up and running. With the pump out of operation, he said there was about a 100-mile gap, extending from Tawas to Rogers City, where boaters could not fuel up.

Though Harrisville’s fuel pump was operational and the marina was open for business as of Friday, Ferguson told the council on Monday the delay was “brutal, brutal on our budget.”

Ferguson estimated the city typically receives around $500 each time a boat fuels up, but the cost varies depending on the size of the boat.

This time of year, Ferguson said, captains are shuttling boats for people who will travel to northern Michigan and want their boat available when they get there.

“They move these boats early in the season, and getting fuel is always a problem, because state harbors usually don’t open until late May,” he said. “And then, with Alpena having a fuel issue and us being down, moving boats has been tough this spring.”

Repairs are being made at Alpena’s marina after portions of the docks were damaged by ice this winter.

Don Gilmet, Alpena harbormaster and building official, said ice had pushed some of the floating docks so far that lines for water, sewer and electricity were snapped.

“I would say we’re probably looking at around $15,000 to $18,000 worth of damage,” he said.

Gilmet anticipates fuel will be available to boaters by Monday afternoon.

“The biggest inconvenience is to the city residents who keep their boats at the boat harbor, who want to go fishing but then they need gas,” Gilmet said. “They want to use their toilet on their boat but they need it to be pumped out. When those services aren’t available … it’s a setback for them.”

Gilmet said the harbor is otherwise open for business.

Calls to the Rogers City Marina and Presque Isle State Harbor were not returned.

The Rogers City Marina opened for business on May 1, according to the marina’s Facebook page.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or