Pounds = A Real Drag
Weight is another story. We boaters are all guilty of carrying too much gear aboard. it accumulates one lure, one ski and one gadget at a time, during months and years of boating. One of the quickest ways to get more miles per gallon is to get the lead out! No, don’t leave the dock without tools, spares or safety equipment, and don’t go so far as to drink your sundowner neat instead of on the rocks. But don’t stow the fishing gear aboard when the season is over, the water skis and wakeboards when your kids are back at school, and the 12 cases of fizzy stuff here and there “just because.” That stuff has got to go if you want to save more fuel.
To prove the point, we loaded the Bluewater with a crew of seven and all the gas and water we could carry. Check the chart below for the dismal results.
Next, we ran the Bluewater “light.” We drained the fuel down to 20 gallons. We stripped it of every bit of gear but for required safety equipment — and, yes, discovered we had more on board than we’d need on any three fishing trips. Then we set out with a three-man crew weighing 600 pounds and increased our economy by a whopping 27 percent.
Such a dramatic increase isn’t likely in normal use, since few boaters will either strip or weight their rigs to the extremes that we did for testing. Put in terms you can use, we added 1 percent to our cruise-speed efficiency for every 100 pounds we took off the boat. if this boat were run 100 hours a year, we’d save 16 gallons annually for every hundred pounds we didn’t carry. If you’re shopping for a boat, compare displacement carefully when deciding between models if maximized fuel economy tops your priorities. Ditto for comparing the weights of engines. Hundreds of pounds will cost you hundreds of dollars.