Norwegians have a long tradition of summer holidays on or around boats, and the country’s oil wealth is now clearly reflected on the water. Since the high season kicked off in June, though, there’s been a visible decline in the numbers of cabin cruisers on the fjords. Some link it to record-high fuel prices.
Prime areas around the Oslo Fjord were packed with boats on Norway’s equivalent of Midsummer Eve in June, known as Sankthansaften. In the strait near a popular bay off the island of Brønnøya, boat density was so strong that police boats sailed through on patrol to ensure traffic flow. Summer parties on the water were in high gear, as seen in the following video compiled by NewsinEnglish.no:
Now, less than a month later, the fjord is much quieter. There’s also been a significant decline in calls for help from Norway’s maritime rescue service Redningsselskapet.
“We can see that there are fewer boats out this summer,” Haakon Andreassen, skipper of the rescue boat Einar Staff SR, told Nynorsk pressekontor (NPK). “Lots of boat owners are talking about the high fuel prices, so that’s probably much of the reason that it’s calmer on the water than usual.”
Even on a beautiful day with sunshine and relatively warm weather in the middle of Norway’s July summer holidays, the fjord was strangely void of pleasure craft. There were some sailboats, which don’t require nearly as much diesel as a motor boat, but the large, powerful and fast speedboats were noticeably absent.
The numbers of calls for help in July, meanwhile, were down by 30 percent from the same month last year on a national basis, according to Redningsselskapet. In the Oslo area they’re down by nearly half. News bureau NTB reported this week that several of Redningsselskapet’s boats haven’t had a single call for help during their duty shifts.
Fuel prices may not be such a deterrent for those who can the afford expensive boats that are prominent in Norwegian marinas. Andreassen thinks “they probably have much of the blame” but noted that this summer’s weather hasn’t been the best either, especially in Northern Norway. Many Norwegians also opted to travel abroad this summer after Corona restrictions were finally lifted.
Henrik Nissen-Lie, editor of the boating journal Båtmagasinet, has also noticed the reduction in boats sailing along the coast and fewer boats in guest harbours, too. “At the same time there are more Norwegian boats sailing along the Swedish coast, but my impression is that there are fewer boats out this year and people take shorter trips,” he told NTB. The so-called “gas guzzlers” also seem to spending most of the summer tied up in marinas.
VIDEO AND PHOTOS: newsinenglish.no/Morten Møst
TEXT: newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund