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Perry & Neblett P.A.
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Boating Green

Saving on Fuel

  • Boaters are considering ways to reduce fuel consumption while on the water, including reducing cruising speed, tuning the engine and taking shorter trips.
  • Unlike driving a car, a boat's engine is often idle or turned off while anchoring, floating or at the dock (all three of which are some of boaters' favorite on-the-water activities).
  • An average size powerboat uses about 20 gallons of gas over an entire weekend. A $1 increase in gas means they will spend just $20 more.
Boaters are beginning to buy engines that better match their boats. If engines have to be run at near or open throttle most of the time, its too small for the boat and its load and fuel consumption and emissions will exceed normal standards.

Tips For Reducing Fuel Usage

  • Slower speeds on the water will reduce fuel usage.
  • Proper use of trim tabs reduce drag, especially while accelerating up to planing speeds.
  • Minimize the amount of time that you idle at the dock.
  • Minimize the use of onboard generators.
  • Use dock-side electrical power in lieu of generators.
  • Have a float plan so you know exactly where you’re going.
  • Make sure the hull is clean.
  • Don't under-power your boat. It's important you have enough motor to handle the load.
  • Check your propeller. If your boat is slow "out of the hole" or lacks top-end speed, you might have the wrong propeller.
  • A well-tuned engine uses less fuel.
  • Use the grade of gasoline specified by the engine manufacturer.
  • Visit for more helpful tips on reducing fuel usage

Clean Safety
Look for the EPA-Certified "Design for the Environment" DfE label, which quickly identifies cleaning products that can help protect the environment and assures you that the products have minimal environmental impact and are safer for you and your family. While painting your boat, use legal bottom paints and biodegradable cleaning agents to ensure that no paint or cleansers enter the water. When searching for environmentally responsible boat cleaning products. Increasingly "green" products are a large, growing segment of the market.

Cleaners that are more organic in their bases - like orange, vinegar, and baking soda based products - and products that are biodegradable and non-toxic. †These products are advertised to work just as well - if not better - than traditionally used chemical based cleaners. New non metal based products are being tested and introduced and the industry expects that we will see significant advances in this area in the future. Being a responsible, "green" boater also means taking care of your hull with proper cleaning and maintenance to prevent hard marine growth like barnacles that slow a boat down and impact fuel efficiency.

Many manufactures are developing more environmentally-friendly paint strippers using biodegradable products that remove antifouling paint without the use of traditional toxic chemicals. Today's clean marinas are also doing their part, with boatyard areas that are environmentally responsible.

Maintain Proper Equipment
Be sure that your engine reaches its designed wide-open-throttle RPM by choosing a prop with the right pitch. Adjustable-pitch propellers and modular props help to keep your boat running efficiently and ultimately reducing fuel consumption. Make sure your boat, engine and propeller blades are in good condition to avoid wasting fuel and minimizing the chances of any oil, gasoline or other hazardous materials entering the water.

Prevent Fuel Spills
Use or install a device to prevent overboard discharges from your tank vent. Such products will give warning and work to prevent spills when your tank is reaching its fuel capacity. Fill your tank slowly and leave 10% empty to prevent it from overflowing and allowing the fuel to expand as it warms.

Plan Out Your Trip
Study your waterways to prevent boat propellers from damaging sensitive sea floor habitats or injuring marine life. Avoid consuming excess fuel supply and plan your trip in advance to avoid confusion and misdirection. Use an autopilot, which can steer better than most captains and maintain a longer attention span.

Recycle Your Waste
RecDispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil and other hazardous wastes at a waste collection facility when you return to land. 12V batteries are among the most recycled products in the world. Many marine accessories stores offer a $10.00 credit on a new battery when you return your used one. Never discharge your sewage when you are near the shore. Check local rules and regulations for specific restrictions. Nearby pump-out stations and shore-side facilities are available for proper waste disposal.

Recycle Your Monofilament Line
Protect marine life by properly disposing of monofilament fishing line at nearby marine accessories stores and shore side recycling locations. If you're unable to locate a recycling location, visit for a list of facilities in your area. Get involved in the recycling effort by researching The Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program (MRRP), a statewide effort to educate the public on the problems caused by monofilament line left in the environment, to encourage recycling through a network of line recycling bins and drop-off locations, and to conduct volunteer monofilament line cleanup events.

Maintain a Clean Bilge
Consider a bio remediation product such as BIO-SOK to convert hydrocarbons into safe compounds.

Stow Your Trash
Keep your trash onboard and never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into the ocean. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal and paper. Recycle your winter storage shrink-wrap at local marinas, dealers and suppliers.

Improvements in Marine Sanitation
One company has done this through improved maceration processes that also utilize an electrolytic decontamination. Another company has developed an aerobic biological treatment system that uses air, water, and naturally occurring bacteria to convert waste water to water and carbon dioxide. Manufacturers are also developing environmentally-friendly products to limit holding tank odors. New product lines for holding tanks eliminate odors without using formaldehyde or other harsh chemicals. Industry and government have also partnered to significantly increase the number of pump out facilities located in popular boating areas.

Marine Engines Go Green
When the EPA announced new regulations in the mid-1990's for boat engines to reduce emissions, recreational boat engine manufacturers responded by developing Direct Fuel Injected (DFI) two stroke engines and four stroke engines similar to the ones that power many cars. This was no small feat, and required the development of new, complex technologies. These new engines reduce emissions by 75% - 90% and increased fuel efficiency by more than 40%. Fuel efficiency demonstrations have shown that today's marine outboard engines are far superior in terms of fuel efficiency, emissions and noise. Marine outboard engines today are 38% more fuel efficient than 20 years ago. The first catalyzed marine engine was unveiled in July 2006 and garnered awards from the EPA and U.S. Coast Guard for its reduced emissions and improved safety. This was no small feat, as the technology had to be created and perfected to allow this engine to withstand the harsh saltwater environment. Recreational boat and engine manufacturers are working to make the fuel boaters use cleaner with fuel additives to improve fuel economy and performance while also reducing smoke and emissions.† To make it easier on boaters these manufacturers partner with Marinas to pre-blend these products.

New Green Developments
Marine generator manufacturers have also made significant investments to develop and market products that limit carbon monoxide emissions - in some instances by 99% - garnering several honors for their efforts.† Manufacturers also offer marine exhaust mufflers and catalyst systems to protect boaters and our waters by removing hydrocarbons from generator exhaust. Boat builders and manufacturers have begun constructing environmentally friendly boat building shops, using green engineering to be energy efficient in every practical way to achieve the latest cutting edge composite construction technology. Such buildings will also incorporate waste water collection systems, pumping it to engineered wetlands where the water will be treated naturally before being discharged.

Link and Resources