As most small boat owners would quickly admit, a large portion of their recreational budget goes toward fuel prices. After spending enough time on the lake, one begins to figure out a few veteran maneuvers that help cut down on gas and oil costs. First, a point we’ve tried to drive home many times in the past on this blog: Perform basic maintenance on your outboard engine after every trip. That way you’ll catch any developing problems in their infancy and nip them in the bud before they become expensive.
Don’t simply take it for granted that your boat’s propeller is in perfect working order. Inspect the prop before putting your vessel in the water. If it has visible scrapes or nicks along the blades’ leading edges, you could be losing efficiency moving through the water. The laws of physics dictate that a heavier boat will require more energy just to get around. Ditch any excess gear before leaving the dock and you could end up saving significantly on outboard motor oil.
Pay attention to the weather report as water conditions often dictate how much energy your motor expends. Rough, choppy water is a pain to plow through, and a calm, placid lake makes for smooth sailing. Finally, take notes over the course of a few fishing trips. Each time, run the motor at a different speed and calculate your efficiency. Every boat has a target speed where the engine performs at the most efficient level possible.