Posted - 03/08/2012 : 10:39:25 AM
| I have been to a couple of social events here recently that had a lot of my close fishing buddies in attendance. The conversations all started out the same and ended the same, Have you been fishing much recently? Followed shortly by Do you think fuel prices will reach $5 per gallon this summer? While there is a lot of speculation on fuel prices and no one knows for sure what they will do over the next several months I think we all need to accept the fact that they are not going to go down. Becoming fuel efficient on the water is becoming paramount for most of all us if we want to continue to enjoy our fishing time. Here are a couple of common sense items to think about in regards to getting the most out of your tank of fuel:
1. If trailering, consider using a ramp that is closer to your destination. While towing a boat is not very fuel efficient, perhaps as low as 10 miles per gallon it is definitely more efficient than making a long run in the boat that might get 2 to 5 miles per gallon.
2. Clean your boat out. Take out items that you do not plan to use on the trip. Less weight equals less drag, better fuel efficiency.
3. Bait wells and fresh water holding tanks, with water weighting 8.33 pounds per gallon, there is no need to keep them topped off unless you intend to use them during a trip. Same philosophy as junk in your boat.
4. Tune her up! Just like your car, a boat engine that is well maintained and tuned-up will perform better and get better mileage.
5. Stay off the throttle. Sure it is nice that for the most part there are no speed limits on the water, but running a boat at optimal speeds will cut down on fuel burned.
6. If you leave your boat in the water, make sure to use anti-fouling paint. I have personally seen just a minor amount of barnacle growth reduce top speed by 10 mph. In addition to paint, pull the boat on a regular basis to ensure the hull is clean.
7. Keep props tuned, a prop that is dinged could cost you 10% or more in fuel economy. Also consult a professional to ensure you have the right prop matched to your rig as a mismatch will not only result in poor fuel efficiency but could lead to serious motor damage.
8. While trim tabs are not cheap investment upfront, they can lead to significant fuel saving by enabling boats to get on a plane easier and assisting when there are issues with weight distribution that cannot be corrected through other means.
9. Install a fuel flow meter: not only will a flow meter help you determine your best cruising speeds but it can also be used to monitor your boats overall performance. If you see consumption start to rise, then you know there is an issue with performance.
10. Look for discounts. Many filling stations are linked up with other retailers such as grocery stores. Collecting points over a period of time may entitle you to some free fuel and these days every little bit helps.
Captain Tim Pickett