By Greg Ellison
(Jan. 16, 2020) Although still awaiting warmer temperatures, Ocean Pines Marina manager Ron Fisher is striving to match last year’s stellar performance.
“Our revenue is driven by slip rentals and gas sales,” he said. “We were fortunate this past year to have good weather most weekends.”
Fisher, who also serves as dock master, oversees twin boat slip locations at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club and the Swim and Racquet Club located on the St. Martin River.
Despite generating $229,000 i
n net revenues during calendar year 2019 to beat budget estimates by more than $40,000, additional expenses were produced with the hiring of weekend security staff at the marina.
“We found it necessary to do that … to promote safety … because we had children playing on docks at night and that’s not a good thing,” he said. “We have strong moving tides out there and they weren’t adhering to the signage that we have that children under 12 need to wear life preservers if they’re on the docks.”
In light of the added operational cost, Fisher has proposed raising slip rental fees by 4 percent in the new fiscal year.
“Given our increase in expense it was very appropriate to raise our slip fees,” he said. “It’s not a ridiculous amount [and] we’re keeping our slip fees at a reasonable rate.”
Fisher said based on a roughly 40 count waiting list for the 86 boat slips available to rent last year, high demand is again anticipated during 2020.
“Due to the improved economy [and] cheaper gas prices people are using their boats more,” he said. “I totally expect that we’ll have a waiting list again this year … of course I hope so.”
To meet the market demand, only a sparse number of slips are withheld from use by association members, or non-residents who pay an additional 10 percent.
“We keep one for Natural Resources Police and we keep one for emergencies,” he said. “The rest we do lease out.”
Fisher said with marina slip rentals available beginning on May 1 through the end of October, the primary ingredient for success is Mother Nature.
“We have a lot of advantages in the fact that we have floating docks [and] a safe harbor,” he said. “We have a great staff and good customer service, but we need good weather.”