Affordable Boating: 7 Tips to Save Money on the Water
Affordable boating is a goal that everyone should want to thrive for, including us. The good news is that there are several ways to lower your boating costs without compromising your fun on the water.
Affordable boating is about making smart choices—whether you’re a boat owner or a boat renter, we’re here to help you make the right ones for the best boating experience.
Here are seven tips on how to save money to achieve your affordable boating goals:
- Offset your costs of boat ownership by renting out to your boat others
- Split up your costs of a boat rental per person
- Improve your boat’s performance and efficiency through proper operation
- Shed excess weight to save on fuel costs
- Gas up your boat on land prior to heading out on the water
- Invest in routine maintenance
- Learn how to DIY maintenance and repairs
1. Offset your boat ownership costs
Advertising your boat for rent when you aren’t using it is one way to make your boating experience more affordable. The extra income you earn from renting it out can help pay for things like fuel, maintenance costs, dockage or storage fees, and more.
Some top owners who list their boats with Boatsetter are earning over $100,000 a year. That kind of cash can go a long way toward offsetting your own ownership expenses, or netting a profit to reinvest in accessories or gear, or even a new boat.
2. Split up your boat rental costs
If you’re looking to achieve affordable boating by renting a boat instead of buying one, you can further reduce the cash crunch by splitting the rental fee with family or friends!
Dividing up the costs by person can cut down the total to $50/person, or in many cases, even less than that.
3. Run the boat at an efficient speed
All boats have “sweet spots” where the hull design and the power package work together to achieve maximum efficiency. Boatbuilders call this sweet spot a boat’s cruising speed or efficient-cruising speed; sometimes, the owner’s manual will refer to “maximum fuel economy” when describing this speed.
No matter what kind of boat you’re driving, operating at this recommended speed will help you save on fuel, thus contributing to your affordable boating goals.
For more info, be sure to read Driving a Boat: 10 Tips for Operating a Boat.
4. Shed excess weight to save on fuel costs
Much like running a boat at efficient speed can help you save fuel, so can reducing the total weight aboard the boat.
All boats have capacity ratings that let you know the maximum number of people and pounds that the boat is designed to handle. Exceeding those limits makes the boat work harder to plow through the water, which burns more fuel (and more of your cash). Keep the weight on board down to maximize efficiency underway.
Be sure to read Boat Fuel Consumption: 5 Tips for Measurement, Efficiency, and Savings to learn more.
5. Seek out cheaper fuel options—on land
For trailered boats, there’s always the option to refuel at a gas station on land—where prices are likely to be lower than what you’ll find at marinas with a captive audience.
Remember to use the kind of fuel that your boat’s engine manufacturer recommends! Fuel with ethanol additives, often found at land-based gas stations, can damage engines and require costly repairs or replacement. Pay close attention to which type of fuel you select at the pump to get this affordable boating benefit.
6. Invest in routine maintenance
Affordable boating doesn’t mean skimping out on what’s necessary. It means spending money wisely so that you spend less overall. As the proverbial saying goes, “it’s a lot cheaper to fix things before they break.”
Investing in routine maintenance on a boat is like investing in routine maintenance on a house or any other big-ticket item. It keeps minor obstacles from becoming complicated (and expensive).
7. Learn how to complete DIY maintenance and repairs
Quite a few online programs cover the basics of DIY for boaters who are just starting out. Also, in the maintenance department, learn to do the basics yourself. If you’re paying a professional marine technician $60 to $90 an hour every time you need a fuel or oil filter changed, then you’re spending money you don’t necessarily need to pay.
Learning how to do routine tasks on yourself is a sure way to make boating affordable. Who knows, you may even like the chore!