The only really environmentally friendly boat is probably a rowboat or sailing boat, but we don’t all want a boat powered solely by wind and oar. A motorboat by its very nature burns fuel, but nevertheless, you should still be able to turn your boating into a more environmentally friendly activity.
Boat fuel is a major source of water pollution and impacts heavily on the marine environments, destroying the very things we want to enjoy when boating.
Here are some ways to reduce both fuel use and your environmental footprint.
Reduce fuel use
As with any vehicle, your boat will run more efficiently and economically if it’s carrying less weight. Rummage through storage compartments and jettison anything you don’t need for this trip – old logbooks, tinned food, spare parts. Have you checked the bilge? Does the livewell need to be full of water? If you’re on the way home after a day’s fishing, drain off excess.
Run a clean motor
Change fuel filters and keep your boat’s motor tuned and serviced regularly to ensure it’s running efficiently and cleanly. You could also consider replacing that old two-stroke for one of the newer direct injection two-stroke or electronic fuel injection four-stroke outboards, as they are considerably more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly.
A boat’s most efficient speed will vary from one type to another, but generally the slower you go (within reason), the less fuel you use. If your boat has a planing hull, lift it to plane smoothly and steadily rather than hammering the throttle. Any acceleration is going to use more fuel.
Cut the idle
Idling your boat’s motor unnecessarily chews through fuel, so whenever possible, cut the motor and enjoy the silence.
Clean the hull and propeller
Change the fuel source
Diesel has long been the only way to power a motorboat, but that’s changing. One option is to install an electric motor or outboard on your boat. It has zero emissions, and you can recharge it with solar or wind energy. Alternatively, you can go hybrid; these boats run on a combination of solar, electric and diesel power.
Turn off the motor
Every now and then, take the boat out and let it drift on the current. Needless to say, you’re going to have to check tides and traffic, but your environmentally friendly boat won’t be making any noise or using fuel.
It is possible to leave a smaller footprint on the water after a day’s outing on your motorboat. By reducing your fuel consumption or even changing the type of fuel your boat uses, you can turn your small trailer boat into an eco boat and enjoy your boating without guilt.
Want to spend that money you’re saving on fuel on some excellent accessories for a day on the water?