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MONTEREY LIFE

Saving Fuel and Spending Time

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 12:00AM

How to save on fuel is a perennial topic, but an important one here at Monterey Boats, because using less gas throughout the year means you can spend more time out on the water!

Don’t let the price at the pump interfere with your plans this boating season. Although the type of boat you own, the circumstances surrounding your outing, and the activities you like to engage in will dictate which gas saving tactics you can use, there are at least a few tips that should work for you and your boat on a regular basis.

Just as with a car, it’s a smart idea to consider fuel economy when shopping for a new or used boat. The good news is that a new fuel-injected V6 can often be as powerful as an older carbureted V8, and more fuel efficient. Driving a steady, slower speed, without lots of stops and starts also saves on fuel.

Distribute weight around the boat and watch your wake. Don’t let everyone sit in either end of the boat. Try to keep the weight – including people, gear, and supplies – balanced and stable. Consider your fuel and water tanks too. Liquids add a huge amount of weight and can cause you higher fuel bills. One gallon weighs about eight pounds, so carry and store as much as you need for the day without sacrificing safety.

On the same note, do a spot check before you launch for things that can be left ashore or tossed, such as old ropes and lines, damaged life vests and cushions, unused coolers and any gear you won’t be using this trip. If your stern is deep in the water, you are wasting fuel.

Maintenance is key for fuel efficiency, so check the bilge pump often, and make sure your engine is well tuned, filters clean, and propellers are always in tip top shape and clear of debris. Just a little deviation in a prop can cost you in fuel. Keep your boat’s bottom and running gear extra clean! A few barnacles or a little organic matter buildup can cause a lot of drag, which will empty your gas tank more quickly.

Aerodynamics is equally important, so try to diminish wind resistance whenever possible. Consider removing your bimini, T-top or other covers, when practical. When you have a choice, plan your trips on calm days. No one can predict the weather, but again, aerodynamics is important, especially when we’re talking about fuel efficiency. Both wind and waves can slow down your boat, even many fast planing boats. Study your area’s wind patterns, because in most waterfront communities it is usually calm in the morning but breezes often kick up by the afternoon. And travel with the wind whenever possible.

To really save on gas, choose a destination that’s close to home – even the dock! You can have all sorts of fun just sitting onboard your Monterey and enjoying a light meal, cool beverages, or family game time in the afternoon.


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