Money-saving tips for frugal boaters
Nobody ever got into boating thinking it would be a cheap hobby. Still, it's nice to save a buck or two while having fun!
These money-saving tips can help you enjoy your time on the water even more:
Rethink your slip.
Trailer your boat instead of keeping it at the marina. Besides saving on moorage fees, you'll cut down on maintenance like frequent hull repainting.
Explore storage options.
Just as your car is safer in a garage, your boat will fare better during the off season under cover. But if your garage isn't an option, shop around for a reasonably priced, secure self-storage unit that accommodates boats or consider high-and-dry rack storage. These tips will help keep your boat secure if you decide to store it outside.
Maximize fuel efficiency.
A well-tuned engine runs better and saves fuel. Your propeller matters, too. Recondition it if you notice damage (dents, dings, barnacles) and make sure it's optimal for your boat and the way you use it. If you're not sure, check with your marine shop or marine mechanic. Watch the weight in your boat. Unload any unused gear and encourage passengers to distribute their weight evenly.
Be fuel smart.
While gas containing ethanol tends to be cheaper, your engine will stay in better condition and you'll get more energy per gallon if you burn non-blended fuel. Ethanol-containing fuel is more prone to condensation, degrades faster when left sitting in the tank and can lead to deterioration of fiberglass fuel tanks and rubber-containing components of the engine. The same ethanol-related problems can affect seasonal-use equipment like lawnmowers, snow blowers and weed trimmers.
DIY but don't overdo it.
You can save money by doing simple boat maintenance yourself (here's a list of boat maintenance you might consider tackling). But don't take it too far. A marine mechanic can spot potential trouble many of us would miss, and an expert eye can go a long way in preventing an inconvenient, nerve-racking breakdown on the water. Receipts and proof of maintenance also may be important if your boat is still under warranty.
Protect your trailer tires from dry rot.
Compared with other tires, trailer tires tend to be short-lived, but you'll get more life out of them if you park on a dry surface and use covers to protect them from UV damage.
Save on boat insurance.
Both Washington* and Oregon require boaters to complete a boating safety course, which covers basic boating terms, safety, navigation aids and more. And, when you do, you'll get a discount on your insurance.
*In Washington, boaters born before Jan. 1, 1955, are exempt.
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