We all know that marine fuel doesn't come cheap - these easy to follow tips will save you cash and get the most out of your boat
Owning your own boat can be expensive enough, without all the ongoing costs such as marine fuel so we’ve got some great tips to help you save money on fuel for your vessel.
A few simple checks and changes in how you use your boat could see you gain a saving of up to 10%. It might not seem like a massive amount of money but cumulatively you could make significant savings and also reduce the amount of smoke and noise your boat produces.
1. Don’t be a drag
Just like on a car, objects on the top of your boat will create excessive air drag and reduce the miles you achieve per gallon, as well as your speed. In order to prevent this, when using your boat, remove the cockpit cover or bimini. It goes without saying that the cleaner the lines of your boat are, the better the fuel economy.
If you can also avoid towing a tender then you’ll also help to reduce your fuel consumption.
Having the incorrect trim on your vessel is also another big culprit of wasted fuel. Cruising with the bow of your boat high out of the water is much more likely to burn more fuel. Instead, try and keep the hull as level to the plane as possible in order to maximise thrust.
If you find yourself having to use excessive trim tab or leg trim, adjust the weight distribution within the vessel. Putting more weight towards the bow of the boat will help her to trim more evenly.
3. Unload unnecessary items
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that the heavier your boat is, the more fuel it will consume and the slower the speed it will cruise at. With this in mind, make sure you remove any items you don’t need from your boat in order to keep the weight down.
Last season’s fishing gear for example, if you’ve got no immediate plans to use it, storing it somewhere else could make a difference to the number of times you’re refilling the fuel tank.
4. Clean your hull
Ensuring you have a clean hull will be one of the biggest factors in helping to reduce drag when cutting through the water, in turn, reducing your fuel consumption. Performance boats can increase their speed by 2 knots by removing even light fouling from the hull. If you can, try to regularly wash the hull and be sure to properly antifoul your boat at the start of every season.
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5. Keep your engine tuned
Regular engine checks will not only prolong its life but also help to ensure that it runs efficiently. There are a number of checks you can complete every time you use your boat but it’s also worth getting marine mechanic to look over your engine at least once a year.
6. Reduce your speed
It may seem like an obvious tip, but sometimes the thrill of speeding through the waves can be more exciting than thinking about how much fuel you’re using. If you’re not in a rush to get somewhere, then reducing your speed is one of simplest ways to ensure you’re using less fuel.
7. Clean the propeller
Keeping your boat’s engine propellers in good shape is another way to save on fuel. Make sure that the engine’s blades are regularly polished and checked for damage. If there are any dents or chunks missing in the leading edge, the transfer of power to the water will be reduced.
It’s also essential to check the tracking and balance on your prop, along with the alignment. Misalignment is relatively easy to check for, but if needs be, have yours measured by a professional repairer.
8. Get your propeller pitch right
The majority of vessel’s propellers will be sized for the maximum speed of the boat, however, sizing them to your cruising speed can help save fuel. It’s probably best to get the work done by a marine engineer, as it’s a delicate job. Investigate at what rpm the best fuel consumption can be achieved and have your props sized to this.