A little change in location can save a fortune in fuel costs for anglers and boaters.
As gasoline costs rise, many people ditch their plans for fun in the sun and ride out the summer at home. A few adjustments in habits and maintenance measures can keep the cost of your boating fuel low. Here are a few tips to stay on the water all summer without flatting your wallet:
Go local: Your favorite lake or river might be an hour or two away, but there are fishing opportunities within a 30-minute drive of practically any place in the state. A 30-minute drive becomes a 1 hour round trip, which can cut your gas costs in half.
Small can be sweet: Smaller lakes and rivers are often overlooked by anglers who fish out of bigger boats, but they are gold mines for quantity and quality of fish. Some of Arkansas best big bass opportunities can be found on smaller lakes, such as Lake Atkins and Lake Monticello. The state record bass came from 330-acre Mallard Lake in northeast Arkansas. Plus, they take much less gas to travel from one point to the next once you’re on the water.
Lighten the load: It’s one of easiest things to do to save on gas, and it applies to just about every boat on the water – ski boat, cruiser, sailboat or fishing rig.
Before you leave home, take a good look at what you really need and clear out all that junk under the floorboards, in lockers or in less-used storage areas. And, if the boat is already in in the slip, remember that water weighs over eight pounds per gallon. Carrying more than necessary in freshwater and waste tanks is a waste of money.
Get a tune-up: An annual engine tune-up, whether you do it yourself or ask a marine professional, is a must for any powerboat owner. It’s also likely to save you a fortune in gas money over the course of the boat’s life.
Check the prop: Take your motor’s prop to a marina, dealer or local prop shop to reshape or file away any dings. A well-tuned propeller makes a boat more fuel efficient.
Check trailer tire pressure: Underinflated tires wear quicker and increase the amount of drag on the tow vehicle. Too much tire pressure causes the trailer to bounce, which can cause damage to the boat and tow vehicle’s drive train. Check tire pressure for proper inflation
Cover it up: While on the road, use a tight-fitting cover to reduce wind drag. The cover also helps keep the boat clean and protects it from the weather.
Slow down: You might be in a hurry to get to the lake, but a 5-mile per hour decrease in towing speed will result in a noticeable drop in fuel consumption.
Pay less for gas: Gasoline is going to be cheaper in town than right on the highway exit; boat dock fuel is extremely expensive compared to either. Fill up on the road en route to the lake or river, and you’ll save money.
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