Boat Fuel Efficiency

How to Reduce Boat Fuel Consumption

Boat fuel efficiency has never been more important! With the world in economic turmoil and the rising price of oil sparking rapidly increasing fuel prices, many powerboat owners are being hit hard financially and are seeking ways to save money on boat fuel consumption. So, to help you start saving money by managing your boat's fuel economy, follow these ten boating tips and increase your boat's fuel efficiency.

Top 10 Ways to Increase Your Boat's Fuel Efficiency

1. Clean and Paint: When the boat is laid up, first take the opportunity to remove barnacles, weeds and other sea debris. Next, coat the hull in a smooth antifouling paint - the purpose of doing this is to reduce friction or water-drag on the hull.
2. Maintain the Engine: If your boat's engine is leaking oil, has an unusual odor when running, makes any unfamiliar noises or is producing black or white smoke, then there may well be something wrong - a boat mechanic should be used to correct anything in which you're not experienced.
3. Reduce Weight: Your boat's weight is another important factor –it goes without saying that the heavier it is, the more fuel it will burn. On short trips, why not only partially fill your fuel and water tanks, reducing weight and increasing boat fuel efficiency. Also, leave any supplies and boat equipment which you're not intending to use on the journey ashore- they can also add unnecessary weight.
4. Weight Distribution: However, on certain classes of boat, extra weight distributed around the boat could improve its performance, particularly in displacement boats which aids steering the boat more directly through the water.
5. Emergency Boat Equipment: Whatever you do, remember not to save fuel costs by travelling without essential emergency boat equipment such as buoyancy aids, life rafts and flares. Also, you should always make sure you're carrying some surplus fuel in case you require it.Now that you've maintained your boat to increase its fuel efficiency and to help you begin saving money on boat fuel consumption, you can consider other ways to help save on boat fuel costs. One really simple method of doing this is learning how to adjust your steering and driving style across the water:
6. Slow Down: Probably the simplest thing to do to save money on boat fuel costs is to slow down (although this is often the hardest thing to do when you have the wind in your hair!). Boating at a sensible cruising speed can drastically reduce boat fuel consumption when compared with travelling at full throttle throughout your journey.
7. Speed Up – 'Planing Vessels': If you own a 'planing vessel', going too slowly may be detrimental to your cruising. Because these boats rely on speed to plane along the surface of the water, it's important to maintain speed to reduce drag and increase boat fuel efficiency.
8. Use the Tides: Taking advantage of tidal currents is more often than not something that only sailboats need to worry about, but this need not necessarily be the case when you're trying to save money on boat fuel costs. Boating against the tide requires a far greater effort from your boat's engine, than if you're travelling with the tide. Remember, it's highly advisable to check tidal timetables before departure.
9. Use the Wind: The same applies to the direction you take through the wind – boating with the wind may seem to produce negligible gains in speed or time in the short term; but measured over several journeys, you can save a lot of money. As with the tides, you should ensure you have up-to-the-minute weather reports before departure.
10. Autopilot & Navigation: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but at sea, it's not always as easy as it sounds to achieve. Over long distances, many extra miles can be added unintentionally to a journey's total by poor navigational planning. By investing in an autopilot, you can ensure that you don't end up going round in circles, preventing you clocking up needless and potentially fuel-costly boat engine hours. Similarly, good boat navigation skills are a must for any boat enthusiast!

If you master the art of using your boat efficiently and put some or all of this advice into practice, you'll be well on your way to reducing your boat's fuel consumption. Monitor Your Boat's Fuel Performance However, the only way you can be completely sure about achieving improved boat fuel efficiency is if you keep records of how much fuel you use, what distance you travelled and at what speeds. Even if you only manage to change one thing at a time you should still make savings on your boat's fuel economy, and be able to monitor the difference in your boat's fuel efficiency that each change makes.

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