Dillon considers boat rental rate increase at marina
Dillon is considering increasing rental rates for pontoon boats at the marina this summer.
Craig Simson, Dillon Marina operations manager, approached the Dillon Town Council during a regular work session meeting April 6 to discuss potential rate changes ahead of the boating season this year. He requested an increase in order to better keep up with boat replacements and to stay competitive with neighboring marinas throughout the area.
Simson said recent rate increases across the lake at Frisco Bay Marina helped to influence the request. In December, the Frisco Town Council approved rental rate increases of 7% to 10% across the board along with an additional bump in price for holiday rentals.
“In response to the town of Frisco approving a rate increase to their pontoon rentals, Dillon would like to match with an 8% increase to our rental fleet,” Simson said.
The rate increase would apply only to pontoon boats, Simson said. According to the new rate schedule, a two-hour trip on a 22-foot pontoon boat would increase from about $180 to $195. The bump would bring Dillon’s rentals nearly up to the same level as Frisco but wouldn’t quite create a consistent price around the lake. For comparison, a two-hour rental of a 20-foot boat in Frisco costs about $200.
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Simson said the proposed change, if approved, would take place after May 1, and individuals who already have booked reservations would be given the lower rates.
Dillon Finance Director Carri McDonnell said the rate increase made sense for the town.
“In order to be able to cover our costs and keep our boats newer, as we’ve been trying to do, I think this is a good move for us and certainly keeps us competitive with our neighboring community,” McDonnell said. “… We feel pretty confident with where our rates are and what we need to do to sustain our rates moving forward.”
Dillon increased boat rental fees last year by $5 per rental, but prior to that, the rates hadn’t been changed since 2016. The increase this year should help to provide a more robust source of funds to help cover costs and replace rental boats on a three-year cycle. Dillon is currently budgeted to purchase six new pontoon boats this year, which would replace four older ones and expand the fleet by two, according to the town’s 2021 budget.
Rental boats are by far the most significant revenue stream for the town’s Marina Enterprise Fund, accounting for an estimated $925,000 last year, according to the town’s budget document.
Town Council is expected to vote on a resolution on the change during a regular meeting Tuesday, April 20. Though, council members largely voiced support for the move ahead of the formal decision later this month.
“I’m actually in favor of a rate increase,” council member Renee Imamura said, “just because we do need to cover our costs, and we should be competitive.”
While 2020 was certainly a busy year at Dillon Reservoir and Summit County’s other marinas, Simson said 2021 could bring even bigger crowds to the area.
“We are getting quite a few bookings,” Simson said. “Everything thus far this year indicates that we will likely have a similar season to last year, if not more. And that’s throughout the entire industry. The marina industry in general is kind of bracing for a repeat of 2020 — hopefully just the bookings part.”
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