Filed Under (Boats and Boating Gear) by Debbie on 26-05-2008

Gas prices are all the buzz today just as it was in the early 70’s and it sometimes seems there isn’t an end in sight for the prices.  Boating season is just beginning and many boater owners are looking at not spending as much time on the water as last year.  I know we cut back last year and are talking cutting back even more this year.

Capital New 9 had an interesting recent article that I found.

WARREN COUNTY, N.Y. — Of course boats also use gas and for most, the price is between $4.50 and $4.70 a gallon for 89 octane, the most common type….“We have less small boats than we usually have. The bigger boats can absorb the cost better,”…

I suppose the bigger boat owners can cruise less distance and still play on the water without impacting their wallets, while us smaller boaters feel the pinch more.  You maybe interested in my “Top 20 tips to improve your boats fuel efficiency”. We always gas up off the water as on the lake runs about a dollar more per gallon.  I must say the cost of fuel has gone up so fast that I am alarmed.  I am also really glad we’ve a sailboat although we maybe carrying down diesel to her this year.  While the cost of diesel has exceeded the per gallon cost of gas, the sailboat manages to run for two hours per gallon of diesel.  This is not something the wakeboard boat does…we’re now talking really short runs and lots of float time on her.

Granted we’re not ripping up the water behind the sailboat however, we are still out on the water.  Some days we only run the iron genny (engine) for a few minutes as we motor out of the club and then back into our slip.  A sailboat requires a different mind-set if you will.  With our wakeboard boat it’s all about speed, wake and play.  The height of a jump or the carve of the wake or even if you managed to turn that kewl trick.

A sailboat however is much different and power boaters have to really have a paradigm shift in thinking.  Why?  Because it’s about the journey and not necessarily the speed at which the journey is taken, unless of course you’re racing.  Once you get out there and run up the sails and cut the engine…it’s a different world.  Your sences become attunded to a different enviroment.

 On a wakeboard boat you’d never hear the water moving along the hull, nor would you hear or feel the wind.  What, you ask?  No you hear and feel the wind produced by the movement of the boat (apparent wind)…not really the wind itself.  Plus the engine drowns out all sound, thus we all have those big sound systems aboard.

On a sailboat you have to understand the wind and become attuned to its movements over land and water.  You hear the water moving along the hull and even more surprising, you hear the hiss of the boat’s wake.  The first time I became aware of the hissing sound I was quite surprised.  Yes, you have to be excited at the prospect of moving a mere 6-8 knots through the water but you’re doing it without paying the high per gallon price.  After all the wind is still free…at least until they figure out how to charge us for that.

So, while the gas prices continue to rise on a daily basis, I’m taking some comfort in the fact that I can still get out on the water with a pretty low dollar cost.  I may not go far and I may not go fast…but I’m still on the water and that’s really what it’s all about for me.

What can we as boat owners do to off-set the rising gas costs?  Plenty, you can find out more by reading my above mentioned “Top 20 Tips”.

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