Marina Advisory Committee analyzes impact of COVID-19

The impact the pandemic has had on the Oak Harbor Marina appears to be minimal so far, but marina officials are keeping their eyes on the horizon.

“We don’t know how the future is going to work out,” Harbormaster Chris Sublet said. “We do know that boating is disposable income. That means it’s the last thing to get paid when people are writing a budget.”

Monday night, the Oak Harbor Marina Advisory Committee met for the first since February to discuss the current status of the marina. Sublet walked members of the committee through a report which analyzed the nascent effects that COVID-19 has had on the facility.

So far, the marina has seen about a 4 percent drop in overall occupancy. While that is a small decrease, Sublet said the situation should continue to be monitored.

“This is troubling to me,” he said. “That’s a number that I really want to keep an eye on, because there’s a direct correlation between our occupancy and our revenue.”

The marina operates as an enterprise fund and doesn’t receive money from city taxes or the general fund.

Revenue generated by guest moorage has been one of the hardest hit sources of income for the marina so far. During the course of the pandemic, the marina has made about $5,000 less from guest moorage this year when compared to the same time last year. Gasoline and diesel sales dropped about $5,000, but Sublet said this is largely due to the lower fuel prices.

There has been a slight increase in revenue generated from permanent occupancy. Sublet said that was largely attributed to extra spaces that were added to F-dock last year.

While Sublet said the permanent occupancy for docks A, B, C and E are fairly consistent with last year, D-dock has seen a decrease in permanent tenants when compared to the same time last year. The dock traditionally fills up in May, but this year about 27 percent of it was vacant. As a result, the marina has seen about a $1,000 drop in revenue from D-dock when compared to last year.

“That’s a pretty significant drop off in one month,” Sublet said.

Not everything, however, has seen a decrease in revenue and occupancy. According to the report, there was an uptick in parking storage.

While the future is uncertain, the marina does have about $1 million in reserves.

“The good news is we’re not going to go broke,” Sublet said.

“We do have the reserves that we can fall back on.”

He added that $1 million may sound like a lot of money, but that everything in the “marina world” is expensive. He advised the committee to exercise caution because the lean winter months are yet to come.

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