Weekend boat traffic expected to be up

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Nationwide boating traffic will be higher this 2004 Memorial Day weekend – the traditional opening of the recreational boating season – than last year, BoatU.S. Towing Services predicted in a press release yesterday.

Jerry Cardarelli, vice president of BoatU.S. Towing Services, doesn’t think increasing fuel costs will have much of an affect on boating activity this weekend, but he said rain could put a damper on some boaters’ plans.

“Overall, we’re expecting boating traffic to go up, somewhere in the single digits,” Cardarelli said. “Last Memorial Day, we predicted a modest increase in requests for on-the-water assistance, but the weather gods rapidly changed tacks and weren’t kind to boaters – we had the lowest Memorial Day call volume since 1998.

The towing service said that weather historically has had more impact on boating traffic than gas prices.

“We haven’t seen much evidence yet that gas prices are impacting boating, especially on a holiday,” said Capt. Mike Goodrich of TowBoatU.S. Boston. “It may be a while before boaters decide to make shorter trips or stay closer to home on their annual cruise.”

Many of the calls for on-the-water assistance early in the season are a result of incomplete spring commissioning, such as engine, fuel or battery problems, according to BoatU.S., and Cardarelli warned boaters not to rush the process.

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