Environmentally Friendly

There are few groups out there as environmentally aware as recreational boaters.

Most responsible boaters will make every effort to ensure they are not doing anything to negatively impact their surroundings.

Many boat owners today are making greater efforts to improve the energy efficiency of their vessels in order to burn less fuel and reduce their carbon footprint. And what boat owner would not want to burn less fuel?

The Sailors for the Sea Green Boating Guide contains a number of simple tips to help the average sailor make their boat more fuel efficient.

An obvious task is routine engine maintenance. Changing fuel filters regularly will remove unwanted particles and increase engine efficiency.

Ensure you have chosen the correct prop for your boat type. Also, look for bent blades, dings or eroded edges, as damage will increase fuel usage.

Maintain the bottom of your vessel. Regularly clean your hull as growth increases friction, slowing your boat down. Antifouling hull paint can prevent growth.

You also might want to consider installing a fuel flow metre. This will measure your fuel consumption at different revolutions per minute (rpm) and will help you find the most efficient speed for your vessel.

And as every sailor knows, it is important to plan ahead of your voyage. For example, tides and winds are relevant to both sail and power boats. Cruising against the tide or into strong winds requires more engine power than moving with them.

You can also eliminate an extra weight onboard. Try emptying your holding tank often and bring and/or store only the items you need onboard.

The next one might seem obvious, but how many actually put it into practice? Slower speeds on the water will decrease fuel consumption. Reducing power by as little as 10 per cent from full throttle will save 20 per cent in fuel costs. Is anyone in that much of a hurry?

Using trim tabs and power trim carefully prevents plowing and reduces drag, allowing the boat to plane at a lower rpm.

And finally, instead of idling your engine to charge batteries, refrigerators and other electrical items, consider using solar, wind or tidal power, or use dockside power. There is a ton of green technology on the market now to help with this task.

These few basic tips might seem relatively obvious, but if all boaters put them into practice, we will be ensuring our pristine waterways will stay that way for generations to come.

Kerry Hann

Editor

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