Tips for boaters to battle high gas prices

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The waterways will be a popular place for people to be this summer; however, the higher gas prices are giving something for boaters to think about.

According to Erin Johnson, North Florida Marine Association administrative director, boaters are used to paying higher prices than what they pay to fill up their automobile, but the continued price increases make it even more expensive.

“Some boaters use diesel and others fill up with ethanol-free,” Johnson said.

However, there are certain tips that the Boat Owners Association of the United States, also known as BoatUS, believes can help boat owners save at the pump.

There are many things that can be done prior to heading out on the water that can help improve the efficiency of a boat’s engine, which in turn will help get better gas mileage.

One of the most important things to do is making sure to give the engine a tune-up and service once a year. This coincides with making sure to continually check the propeller for damage and keeping the propellor clean of barnacles and other growth.

“Upgrading older motors can give you the most efficient gas consumption,” Johnson said.

The heavier a boat is, the higher the gas usage it will take to move along on the water.

BoatUS advises only bringing on board items necessary for the designated trip.

Another method of watching a boat’s weight can include not filling up a fuel tank or freshwater tank all the way, if it is not needed for a safe return. This will be determined by the length of the trip, which is why it can be helpful to plan out a heading beforehand.

According to BoatUS, a common misconception is that a boat’s engine needs time to warm up. This is no longer the case, because modern engines are fuel-injected, which means they are ready to go after just one or two minutes.

The excessive idling can use unnecessary gas that instead could be used for traveling out on the water.

Boats that have multiple passengers can use more gas depending on where the passengers are sitting or standing.

“There are a lot of little things that can make a difference,” Johnson said. “Even standing uneven on a boat is something to think about.”

Too many passengers on one side can cause a boat to lean more in one direction and cause the engine to work harder and use more gas.

BoatUS understands that canvas or Bimini tops can provide much needed sun protection, but it can also create an increased wind drag when travelling at higher speeds.

No matter the rising gas prices, there will still be plenty of boats on the water enjoying what has become a summer tradition.

“What better way to enjoy Florida than by getting out on the water?” Johnson said.

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