Simple tips to save fuel on the water
- 13 July 2018
While marine engines have become increasingly efficient over the past decade, there is still a lot we can do as end users to ensure that existing marine fuel supplies are used as frugally as possible. Not only does this make sense from an environmental point of view, but there are clear economic advantages to this, too.
For those who own and operate marine vehicles, there is extra incentive to save fuel as much as possible. Being stuck out in the middle of the seas with no fuel can be more dangerous than facing this situation on land. While Bulk Fuel Australia has a well-established network of on-site fuel delivery solutions for ports and marinas, it’s a bit hard to get refuelled kilometres from shore.
With that in mind, here are some handy hints to save fuel while on water:
Maintain the hull as a first priority
Vessel and hull maintenance is critical to keeping fuel usage as low as possible. The more dirt there is, the more resistance there is to the flow of water around the hull, which makes the engine have to work harder to maintain speed. Imagine driving a car with the brakes engaged while trying to accelerate and you will see the problem. Grime, weeds and even barnacles increase friction even further and can reduce motor efficiency by up to 50%. Clean the hull every few weeks to keep the surface as smooth as possible.
Select the right propeller
It’s important to correctly match the propeller to the engine and boat size, as ones that are not right for the job can overwork the engine or, worse, waste fuel as they don’t achieve the desired RPM levels that the engine is trying to reach. The closer the propellers rev up to the maximum speed of the engine, the more efficient they are.
Watch out for drag
Just as we ensure that the hull has no excess sources of drag under the water, we need to ensure that the top is as aerodynamic as possible. Canvas rooftops can turn into sails that slow the boat down, and bulky Bimini tops are a particularly common culprit for this. Likewise, having a window that’s open in the middle is a regular cause for increased drag. Drag is a force that pushes against the boat’s forward momentum, which makes the engine push back even harder, which costs more fuel to travel the same distance.
Paintwork makes the boat work
Even the insignia painted on the side of your vessel can make a stark difference to engine performance, depending on how the paint was applied. A rough paint job basically acts like a giant barnacle, so use airless sprays or smooth rollers when possible.
Mind the engine
When you’re on a plane there’s little point in revving the engine much further. Reducing the number of changes to engine speed as much as possible saves even more fuel.
Mind your weight
While modern engines are capable of ferrying heavier loads, it’s critical to fuel performance that the onboard weight is distributed evenly across the boat as possible. This keeps the fuel burning at a consistent rate as the boat breaks against waves.
Whether it’s out on the ocean or on a marina, Bulk Fuel Australia are the marine diesel specialists and has the on-site marine refuelling solution that’s right for your business or vessel. Contact Bulk Fuel Australia today to see how we can keep your business afloat.