Owning a boat that you can jump into whenever you feel the need to escape for a few hours is a nice thing to have. The only problem is that it costs money to operate a boat. Some people call their boat a hole in the water that they throw their money into–it’s an old joke, but at times it can seem that way. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the operating costs. Following are a few money saving ideas for boaters.
One of the best ways to save money on boating costs is do a lot of research before you actually buy a boat. Because the economy is tight at this time, you may be able to get a really good deal. Boat sellers are continually looking for ways to move their product, and this could work to your advantage. Due to the fact that a boat is a luxury item, they aren’t selling very well, so boat dealers are willing to give you a price break in order to make a sale. Before you go looking for a boat, you should spend some time reading boating magazines and watching local newspapers for sale ads. You should also visit a few boat shows to find out what’s available, and get an idea of the price. Continuing the shop around theme, you should also visit a variety of lenders in order to get a loan at the best rates.
Performing routine maintenance is a good way to save money. If you keep your boat’s motor in proper tune, it will run more efficiently. In the same way that a well-tuned engine helps you get good gas mileage in a car or truck, a boat’s motor will give you more operating hours for the price of a gallon of gas than one that is spitting and sputtering. You should also keep the hull clean so it will cut through the water with a minimum of drag.
Buy Quality Parts
You may be tempted to save a few bucks by buying replacement parts from the discount bin. However, there is a valid reason for using name brand parts–they’re usually built better and will usually last longer. You may save a couple of dollars on off-brand parts, but there really is no savings if they break sooner and have to be replaced. You may as well spend the extra money on quality parts in the first place.
Buy in Bulk
Whenever possible, you should try and buy in bulk in order to save money. Purchasing things like oil in large amounts will cause the price per unit to be less than if you buy each quart of oil one by one. The same concept applies to items like cleaning and polishing supplies. Ask your fellow boaters who use the same consumables if they’d be interested in going in together to share the cost of a case of oil. You can all save money that way.
Compare Dockage to Using a Trailer
Figure out the cost of rent dock space for a season and weigh it against the cost of using a trailer to haul your boat to and from the water. If you know you’ll be fishing or skiing in different areas of a large lake, or on a variety of different smaller lakes during the boating season, it may be to your advantage to spend your money on gas instead of dockage.
Take Shorter Trips
Because the cost of fuel continues to rise, you may want to consider taking shorter trips. If you store your boat at home and use a trailer to haul it to different lakes for fishing excursions, you can save money by fishing closer to home. You can also save money once the boat is in the water by fishing longer in one spot or using paddles to propel the boat instead of continually starting and restarting the engine.
Save on Fuel
Whether it is using your car or truck engine while hauling the boat, or running the boat’s motor, there are ways to save on fuel costs. In your land vehicle, you can save money by avoiding fast starts and not letting the engine idle for long periods of time. Putting in fuel additives may also increase the engine’s efficiency. The same principles apply to your boat’s motor–it operates the same way. Instead of heading from one fishing hole to another at top speed, you can save money by taking off smoothly and running the motor at less than full speed.
Guest post from Tracy Sheldon. Tracy writes about boat insurance for BoatInsurance.org.