Courtesy of Boat US
Fuel prices may have stabilized lately, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try and get more out of each tank of gas. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has a few tips that could help stretch your fuel dollars:
1. Leave the extra 'junk' home: Don't load the boat up with weight you don't need. Do a little spring cleaning - unused equipment that has been collecting mildew in the bottom of lockers for years should be taken home.
2. Water weight: At 8.33 pounds per gallon, why keep the water in the tank topped off if you're only going out for the afternoon?
3. Tune her up: A tune-up is an excellent investment and should easily pay for itself over the summer.
4. Tune your prop: You can lose up to 5 mph of boat speed with a poorly tuned prop. If your boat goes 50 mph with a like-new prop and only 45 mph with a prop that's dinged and out of pitch, you've lost 10% of your speed but are still using the same amount of fuel. That converts to a 10% loss in fuel economy.
5. Clean the boat's bottom: A fouled bottom is like a dull knife; it takes a lot more effort - fuel - to push it through the water. Barnacles and slime slow the boat dramatically and increase fuel consumption.
6. Keep the boat in trim: Either by using trim tabs or with weight distribution. A boat that is trimmed correctly will move through the water with less effort - and less fuel.
7. Go With the Flow: Consult tide tables and whenever possible try to travel with the tide.
8. Install a fuel flow meter: A fuel flow meter is like a heart monitor; when consumption starts to rise, it's an early warning that something is amiss. A fuel flow meter also allows you to select a comfortable cruising speed that optimizes the amount of fuel being consumed. If you don't want to spring for a fuel flow meter (about $300), you can calculate your fuel mileage by dividing distance traveled by gallons at fill-up. Using your logbook, you can then approximate fuel flow using average speeds and time underway.
9. For sailboats only: If you own a sailboat, all of the above apply, but the real savings begin when the engine is shut off and the sails are raised.