Fuel prices are reaching their summertime highs in many parts of the country, so 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: An engine tune-up is an excellent investment and should easily pay for itself over the summer.
4. Tune your prop: If your boat goes 30 mph with a like-new prop and only 27 mph with a prop that's dinged and out of pitch, that's a 10% loss in fuel economy, or, you're wasting one out of every ten gallons you put in your tank.
5. Paint the boat's bottom: When boating in salt or brackish waters a fouled bottom is like a dull knife. It takes a lot more fuel to push your boat through the water.
6. Keep the boat in trim: Using trim tabs or distributing weight evenly will help move your boat through the water with less effort - and less fuel.
7. Go with the flow: Consult tide tables and try to travel with the tide whenever possible.
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: While their engines are miserly, a sailboat with a fouled bottom, prop, or poorly maintained engine can have marked effect on its fuel economy.
10. Get a discount: Many of the 870 BoatU.S. Cooperating Marinas around the country offer up to 10 cents off a gallon of gas. To get the discount all you have to do is to show your BoatU.S. membership card. If you aren't already a member, join online now for a special rate of $19.00 by going to http://www.BoatUS.com/membership or call 800-395-2628.
BoatU.S. - Boat Owners Association of The United States - is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 650,000 members with a wide array of consumer services including a group-rate marine insurance program that insures nearly a quarter million boats; the largest fleet of more than 500 towing assistance vessels; discounts on fuel, slips, and repairs at over 870 Cooperating Marinas; boat financing; and a subscription to BoatU.S. Magazine, the most widely read boating publication in the U.S. For membership information visit http://www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.