Times are tough, but there are simple ways to save money behind the tiller. Careful and considerate boating can lead to cost-savings for boaters and help to keep the waterways in a good condition. A win win situation for all!
Just like driving a car, running boat engines more slowly gives greater fuel efficiency. Plus it reduces wash and damage to the canals. And if you need any more convincing, you’ll also be cutting down emissions and helping the environment.
A considerate boater is one who drives slowly, passes other boats slowly and approaches bridges, aqueducts and tunnels slowly. Always keep your eyes open for boats coming in the opposite direction. If you see one coming, don’t race to get to or past the narrowing first. If the other boat has the same idea you’ll end up colliding and that will lead to time and expense for all concerned.
Listen to your engine and it will tell you if its struggling. You may have weed or something else tangled in the prop and will waste money as your engine battles to keep up speed until the obstruction is removed.
Listen out for blasts on the horn which signal another boat is approaching on a blind bend or bridge. Slowing down in good time will save fuel and money.
Sharing locks is one of the best ways to save water – a precious resource especially in summer. As you approach a lock, check there isn’t a boat close behind you and if so, wait. It could also pay to check if there is a boat coming in the opposite direction, especially if the lock is already set more in their favour.
It’s vitally imprtant to take care and concentrate at the helm. Lapses in concentration lead to collisions – and collisions cost money. Be aware of weather conditions (eg strong gusts of wind) which could affect your course – or the course of the boat approaching you – and always think ahead.
Turn it off!
This one really is common sense. Don’t run your engine, heater or generator if you don’t have to – and always ask yourself if your heater could be turned down a notch. Stuck in a queue at the locks? Turn your engine off. It will save you money and help the environment.
Don’t fill up to the top
Think before you fill your tank with diesel. Are you about to moor up for a long time? If so, don’t fill the tank up to the brim. In warm weather the fuel may expand and could overflow into the canal.
A sure fire way to learn new tips for safe and economical boating is to take the RYA Helmsman course.