Boating is not a carbon neutral activity! Boat building and the pleasurable operation of all power boats can have a significant carbon footprint. How can my family minimize our carbon footprint and its negative impact on the environment….family boating is great fun? There are real steps that all boaters can adopt right now to reduce our carbon footprint impact. As Boater’s we need to accept that we can achieve a measurable reduction in our negative impact….but with present technology….. not eliminate! Listed below are 10 simple ways to be a improved friend of environment….its important and we all need to do our part.
10 Ways To Lessen Your Carbon and Environmental Boating Footprint
- Avoid utilizing plastic wrap or shrink wrap winter storage procedures. Plastic wraps are manufactured from carbon based non renewable resources which have a high carbon footprint during manufacture, distribution, utilization and disposal. Unfortunately the vast majority of plastic films designed for boat storage are not even recycled and end up as 200 years of land fill waste. Further plastic wrap boat storage systems are not in the best interests of maintaining the original condition of the boat and power plus are very prone to UV damage, temperature related problems and mold issues. The lowest carbon and environmental impact is inside storage systems utilizing buildings.
- Keep your boat well maintained at all times. Properly maintained outboards and sterndrives burn less fuel…it is as simple as that. Wash and maintain the bottom hull surface to a completely clean condition at all times as this reduces drag which reduces fuel consumption.
- Keep your propeller in an undamaged unmarked situation. 10 to 15% of the available thrust of a propeller is based on the condition of the edges of the propeller or the cupped portion. Small nicks, dents, gouges or filing of the edges will result is significantly higher fuel consumption. As a general rule stainless steel propellers, as they have a thinner blade thickness, which use less fuel that standard aluminum propellers. Less expensive Chinese propellers particularly aluminum I find are not as well made and the overall geometry of the blades is not as good as North American sourced propellers.
- Keep your boat properly trimmed at all times when underway. A power boat underway at cruising speeds should from a side view appear slightly bow up. The proper use of trim while underway can have a very positive effect on fuel consumption. For those that are not comfortable with trimming while under way…. Mercury now offers an automatic trim system. New for 2017 model year Mercury Marine has unveiled Smart Trim which takes the mystery out of properly adjusting the boats trim for maximum performance. Available in many Mercruiser and Mercury Outboard powered boats for 2017.
- Get the right horsepower for your application. Misunderstood by most boat buyers and unfortunately not always recommended correctly by boat dealers…..there is no substitution for horsepower! The largest fuel usage is from rest to planning speed normally in the area of 25MPH. Purchasing lower horsepower can result in significantly more fuel consumption as well as additional engine wear and tear due to the requirement to continuously utilize more of the engines operating capacity or higher RPM’s while underway.
- Purchase 4 stroke engine technology. All sterndrives are 4 stroke technology but both 2 stroke and 4 stroke outboard technology is still available. Right now boat buyers prefer by a significant margin 4 stroke outboards due to the quietness, no exhaust smoking and longevity. There is still direct injection outboards available where is some jurisdictions they cannot be sold or resold. New 4 stroke technologies are very fuel efficient….take advantage! If you have an older 2 stroke outboard….it needs to be retired!
- Avoid wake board boats! OMG…..no over priced wake board boats! Wake boarding, wake skating, water skiing and tubing all contribute to higher fuel consumption rates. Wake boarding and wake skating are the highest consumption as they require the use of additional water ballast in combination with inefficient hull angles while underway. Many families enjoy this type of activity but they do not require a competition level wakeboard boat to have this fun. Many sterndrives and now the forward facing Volvo Penta sterndrive can over this activity at a very high level with less fuel consumption and significantly less initial purchase costs.
- Avoid high speed operation. Fuel consumption dramatically increases when over the 3000 to 3500 RPM engine performance level.
- Avoid trailing when possible as fuel consumption increases significantly for the tow vehicle. Plan your trips well, consider using local storage opportunities, make sure your trailer tires are properly inflated and minimize boat profiles but using only low boat canvas when trailering.
- Buy the right fuels, utilize fuel stabilizers, avoid where possible the use of fuel jerry cans due to spillage, evaporation and premature fuel degradation which can damage your engine.