One of the downsides of boating is the more expensive fuel. Because of shipping and storage costs, marine fuel treatments and regulations, marine fuel is almost always more expensive than gas at the gas station. Fuel could easily be 40+ cents/gallon more expensive at the marina. With many boats over 20 feet containing fuel tanks over 80 gallons, expenses can add quickly.
Another reason why marine fuel is more expensive is that there is less competition. There are only so many marinas in a given area, and only some of them have fuel stations. In the water, there is not a fuel station every half mile like there is on land.
Some boaters, especially those with trailers, try to go around these costs by filling up on land. This can be a great option, but also stressful. Unless you are a skilled driver and have a small boat, navigating a gas station with tight turns with an extra 20-30 feet on the back of car can be difficult.
Also, there has been a debate among boaters about whether ethanol in auto fuel has a negative impact on boat performance. Some say that ethanol is not good for boats because boat engines operate with more mechanical stress than cars. Additionally, ethanol absorbs water, which is not good for storing your boat all winter.
If you keep your boat on a dock or mooring and cannot get to a gas station on land, you can still take steps to reducing fuel costs by not having to get fuel as often. First, do not gun the boat when leaving the harbor and don’t be constantly changing the boat speed. Further, try to reduce as much weight as possible. Never sacrifice safety equipment, but take out things you may not need. The more weight on the boat, the more the hull sinks into the water and the more effort the engine much exert to get the boat moving. If your boat has trim tabs, only put them down when necessary. Having them down creates a lot of drag on the boat and can reduce your speeds by 2-4 MPH.
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