March 06, 2012
With marine fuel costs on the rise, here are five wintertime tasks to save gas this summer.
The nation's largest boat owners' group has five fuel saving tasks that can put a dent in your summer fuel bills. All of these tips from Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) are time tested to reduce fuel consumption, and boaters can accomplish most of them now while their boats are "winterizing."
Lighten the load: It's one of easiest no-cost things to save on gas, and applies to just about every boat type on the water - power, sail or fishing. With the boat on jack stands or in the garage, jump aboard and take a good look at what you really need and clear out all of that junk under the floorboards, in lockers, or in less-used storage areas. And, if she's already in the slip, remember that water weighs over eight pounds per gallon. Carrying more than necessary in fresh water and waste tanks is almost as bad as flushing money down the head.
Get a tune-up: An annual engine tune-up, whether you do it yourself or ask a marine professional, is a must for any powerboat owner. It's also likely to save you the most money on gas in the long run. This is also a good time to have your fuel lines checked out. Ethanol fuel blends can really cause havoc on your engine.
Check the prop: To avoid any delay in launching this spring, take your motor's prop to your marina, dealer or local prop shop now while they are less busy and can repair any dings. It's also good to have a discussion on your current boating needs.
Trailering fuel-saving tips: Check tire pressure for proper inflation, ensure you have a tight fitting cover to decrease wind drag. Also, a five or six mile per hour decrease in towing speed will give a noticeable decrease in fuel consumption.
Pay less for gas: Join BoatUS for only $24/year and the member fuel discount can be as much as $.10 off each gallon of fuel at over 340 BoatUS Cooperating Marinas. It's one of the Association's more popular member benefits and can pay for itself in as little as one or two fill-ups.
Or you can find a local gas station that has consistently-cheaper prices. But keep in mind that boaters with older model engines, gas tanks (such as fiberglass models), fuel pumps, and fuel lines will run into problems with ethanol-mixed gas such as E10 or E15. If you can find a gas pump at a marina with ethanol-free gas, you'll be better off in the long run.