As the summer boating season officially begins, we need to do everything we can to make sure customers are having the most safe and enjoyable time on the water possible. They can’t do this if they have to spend their season in the service department.
It is imperative that boat businesses do everything they can to educate customers on what fuel will be best for their boat, especially as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is increasing the risk of misfueling.
This is of particular concern for Northern states where the summer boating season is the only one they get. As of May 2014, E15 was available in over 100 stations in 12 states, most of which are in the Midwest. That number has almost certainly gone up.
According to BoatUS and the NMMA, an estimated 95 percent of boats are filled at retail gas stations, but a 2016 Harris Poll commissioned by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute found that 60 percent of consumers believe any gas sold at retail stations is suitable for all engines and products. Further, only 36 percent know E15 is harmful to some engines — with just five percent aware that its use in those engines is also illegal.
These numbers are not surprising to anyone paying attention in our industry, as respondents of our service department survey found ethanol was a major cause of engine repair damage and other repair issues.
This season, be sure your customers are begin safe with their fuel. Major repair issues that reduce time spent on the water will almost certainly drive boaters away.