8 fuel saving tips
Marine fuel is becoming increasingly expensive, so here are 8 easy to follow tips to help you save money.
Following just a few of these steps, you could save money on your vessel’s fuel bill to spend on the things you want and need. You could also reduce the wear and tear on your engines and drive systems too!
- Loose the drag!
You wouldn’t drive your car with the handbrake on, so why drive your boat with too much drag? Try to avoid towing that tender around, and loose the cockpit cover to help reduce air resistance which in total can be up to 10% of a boat’s drag at high speed.
- Time for a trim
Running your boat at the wrong trim makes your propulsion system work harder, so try to run with the boat as level as possible to keep your propellers horizontal, maximising forward thrust.If you don’t have trim tabs, or you have to use them excessively, try moving some weight around the vessel, if your bow is high, move items forward, and vice versa.
- Unload unnecessary items
The heavier your boat, the deeper the draft, which means pushing more water out of the way, increasing fuel consumption. Removing unnecessary items such as fishing kit, clutter or rubbish can make small improvements, but be careful not to remove essentials, such as safety kit.
- Clean your hull
One of the biggest factors of your boat’s drag is the hull surface finish. Removing even slime and weed can add 2 knots to the top speed of performance boats. If possible, regularly wash the hull and keep your boat anti-fouled throughout the season.
- Look after your engines!
Regular maintenance is a must, for safety as well as efficiency. Remember to check oil and coolant levels before you start the engine, and visually inspect it for signs of external damage. A quick tune up once in a while can make sure they are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
To be sure, have a qualified marine engineer check it at least once a season, and after storage over winter to prevent those rescue callouts!
- Reduce your speed
It may seem obvious, but if you don’t need to rush, why burn all that extra fuel to get there faster? Fuel consumption increases approximately with speed cubed, so reducing from 25 knots to 20 knots could save you big money.
- Keep your propellers in shape
Your boats propellers are the single most important part of the drive system, if they are damaged, worn or fouled then they can wreak havoc with fuel consumption and speed. Check the leading edges for chips and dents, and that the tips are not worn or cavitated.
It is also important to have them polished, aligned and balanced regularly, to stop unwanted vibrations and inefficiencies. It’s no good having a perfect propeller if it’s not pushing you in a straight line.
- Get your propeller pitch right
Propellers are often designed to be efficient at the top speed of the boat, so sizing them to a slower cruising speed can help save fuel. Try to optimise your engine’s efficient RPM range with the size, pitch and number of blades. Be careful though, as it’s a fine balance, so best to get some professional help with this one!