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Old 11-19-2007, 05:26 PM   #1
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Boating and fuel cost

As diesel (and gas) prices continue to head for the stratosphere with no end to the ascent in sight, how do you (collectively) think this will affect the way people use their boats?

I've talked to people who say they'll take shorter cruises, or sacrifice short cruises during the year*and make only*a few longer cruises.* I've heard from marine park rangers in our area*that the numbers of boats in the marine parks during the peak season has dropped noticeably.

And do you think fuel prices will start increasing the demand for low-power, low-speed, low-fuel consumption boats, new or used?* Will more boaters start thinking about downsizing?* At least one boatbuilder in our area is betting on this.* The maker of the Allweather, a small trawler*that*is reputed to have gone*from*Puget Sound to Ketchikan and back on 42 gallons*of fuel, has stated he's going to step up the marketing of his boat because*he thinks more people will be wanting this sort of craft.**The design pros and cons of the Allweather are another subject, but the philosophy is intriguing.

Our GB36*(twin)*burns about 5gph at a bit over 8 knots and carries 400 gallons of fuel.* At this point, the boat is so much a focus of our lives that I do not see changing our*year-round use of the boat.* However,*I have a full-time job so we'll not be in a position to take long cruises for another six or seven years.* So most of our trips are relatively short.

But what about the retired folks who are used to spending the whole summer cruising the east coast or the Carribean or the Inside*Passage?**Will they start shortening the focus of their cruises as the*pump dials spin faster?

What will you do?
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Old 11-19-2007, 05:44 PM   #2
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

I think we'll see the big go-fast boats as usual - those folks* usually don't have to worry about $$$$$.* What's another few boat units for fuel, it's buried in the noise limits under crew expenses, moorage, insurance and $$ maintenance!

As for the smaller folks, I think it will have a real impact.* Although we have a very fuel efficient boat, if the fuel cost goes up $1.00/gal, last summer would have cost an additional 4 months of moorage - ouch!

Guess we'll slow down some more.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:09 PM   #3
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Boating and fuel cost

I don't see any changes coming in my cruising. My current cruising uses about 600 gallons of fuel per year. (200 hours x 3 gph, lehman 120) If the price goes up a dollar a gallon this year, that's another $600. Not a deal killer for me.

But then I didn't buy the most expensive boat in the marina, I didn't stretch my budget to get the fanciest yacht I could finance. I bought what I could pay cash for without dipping into retirement savings.

The item that causes me the most angst is the transient moorage fees. Some places we enjoy visiting don't have convenient anchorages close by. I guess we'll be looking for a larger tender to make the longer jaunts when we visit town.
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Old 11-19-2007, 10:40 PM   #4
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

Hey ya'all
*** ** Well, it wasn't too long ago that I was cruising all summer on $.57/gal diesel. We ran at 15 knots, for 200hrs./summer burning 13 gph. for a total $1,482.00. No problem, as it's less than 1.5 boat units. This last summer, having been semi-retired for the last few years, and being Scotch to the roots, decided to keep costs down by cruising mostly at an average 9 knots @ 5gph. We also decided that we would not leave our berth for less than a three day weekend, and mostly longer trips. We ended up at about 200 hrs. X 5 gph, equaling 1,000 gallons, and* $2,600.00. Deal breaker? No. How do you put a price on a dream such as ours. I'll cut corners anywhere else, but I guess I've done what I can to reduce the cost, and will continue to find a way to justify this boating life. I think it will have to hit $10/gal. to stop me. Fortunately, at some point, retirement will allow me to do much longer trips, not necessarily covering more water or hours running.
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:45 AM   #5
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

I love it! The higher fuel goes, the more the value of my single engine trawler increases. I don't think it'll affect boaters much for a long time. The cost of fuel really isn't a big issue compared with the other costs... the boat itself, the insurance, slip rental or storage, maintenance, etc. It won't affect my cruising plans or use at all. I do shop around for fuel though, since I can hold 700 gallons.
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:06 AM   #6
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

I agree with Keith, when you compare all the other costs of owning a boat fuel is pretty cheap!*
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Old 11-20-2007, 09:41 AM   #7
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Boating and fuel cost

Ha,
I will be glad when the cost of DE FUEL gets 5$ or so a gallen,we will just stay tyde to the dock more. And you know what? We will stell look good,real good!
Sea Ya;
Captain C.
PS
The more you pay for some thing ,the better it is , rite?
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:18 AM   #8
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

I also agree with Keith.* We burned*about*250 gal. of diesel this year in 4 weeks of cruising and many weekends, or $750 at $3.00/gal.* In contrast, slips in my neck of the woods are running north of $120/ft for the summer.* Regardless of the cost of your boat, when you're paying about $5000/yr for a 40 foot slip,*another $750 for fuel becomes almost incidental for owners with similar usage patterns.* Of course, it's different for long-distance cruisers.

That said, some of the owners of big sportfisherman and express boats have told me they're being slightly more circumspect in their boat usage.* For example, they'll forego making the 40 mile trip to Block Island for the night, going someplace closer instead.* I guess a hidden benefit of a trawler is that at 8 knots, I would never consider*40 miles each way*for an overnight!
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:27 PM   #9
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Boating and fuel cost

WOW! 5 grand a year for moorage? I'd be way more concerned about fuel prices if I was paying that. My investment in joining a Yacht Club that owns moorage is paying off. Of course that $300.00 initiation was a bunch back in 1981, but at just barely over $110.00 per month for moorage (includes moorage, dues, fees, electricity etc.) of my boathouse I think I made a good decision.
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:20 PM   #10
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

Yes, the moorage issue could become worse than fuel costs for many of us in the future. We are currently blessed with reasonable moorage at $2,400/yr for a forty foot slip. Most moorage south of us, as in the Seattle area is more like $3,600/yr and higher. Seven to ten thousand dollars a year to own and operate a boat will be common place very soon. I sometimes think about a move to a sailboat with a fifty horse, but then I awaken and the nightmare is over.

-- Edited by Carey at 20:24, 2007-11-20
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:28 PM   #11
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Boating and fuel cost

While it's true that fuel costs may be one of the lower costs involved with boating, money is money, even to wealthy folks. It's the nature of boats to be in a constant state of deterioration, hastened by the environment they live in, and those cutless bearings, water pumps, anchor windlesses, batteries, refrigerators, canvas covers, you name it, are all wearing out. I've heard it said that the average life expectancy of most boat components (not including engines, transmissions, etc) is about ten years.

When an owner is faced with having windows rebuilt to fix a leak problem or needs to buy a new refrigerator to replace the one that just died or a transmission starts acting up, high fuel prices can suddenly put a dent in the cruising plans.

If moorage in this area was $120 a foot, we would not be boating, at least not with a boat that required a slip. We'd be using our 17' trailer boat or maybe buying a larger trailer boat. Our moorage is in the neighborhood of $6 a foot I think (my wife deals with the bills). Nine years ago when we bought our GB it was $4.50 a foot. Moorage in Seattle is considerably higher, maybe $10-$12 a foot. I used to think that was astronomical. But it's practically free compared to those northeast fees.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:42 PM   #12
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Boating and fuel cost

For those interested:

2007 voyage, Puget Sound to SE Alaska and return:

420.6hrs, 1139gal, av$3.15/gal, $8.54/ophr, cruise 7.4kts

2001 voyage, Puget Sound to SE Alaska and return:

420.0hrs, 1270gal, av$1.07/gal, $3.22/ophr, cruise 7.8kts

We did cruise at a faster speed in 2001, but the average cost of fuel rose 194% over the six year period. At this rate of increase, fuel prices will average $6.11/gal in 2013 for the same voyage. As time goes on, this will get harder to rationalize on a fixed retirement income.
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Old 11-21-2007, 03:22 PM   #13
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Boating and fuel cost

After $10K for a covered slip out behind the house in 2000, no more mooring fees.

Average annual ownership costs since that time (minus all the assorted unrequired improvements) are only a couple of BU.

Cost of 900 gallons of fuel we used last year in our 2400-mile trip up the T-Tom and Tennessee River would be more than my annual ownership costs at 3 bucks a gallon.

It gives one pause.
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Old 11-21-2007, 03:37 PM   #14
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Boating and fuel cost

The first year we started boating we spent $600 on fuel (gas) and $973 on cocktails. Now I never worry about the fuel
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Old 11-21-2007, 05:21 PM   #15
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

Quote:
RT Firefly wrote:

The first year we started boating we spent $600 on fuel (gas) and $973 on cocktails. Now I never worry about the fuel
Excellent point.* I am pretty sure we spent at least that much and more!!!!

Folks, our boats are a big part of who we are.* So don't sweat it........yet!!!* I sure hope the gubment won't take that away.
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Old 11-22-2007, 07:59 AM   #16
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

Good point, beer is about $8 a gallon and I never hear any of my boating friends complain about that!
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Old 11-22-2007, 09:02 AM   #17
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

Most of our fuel consumption is heating the boat which ranges from 5 gallons/week to 20 gallons per week when temps drop into the 20 and 30 or about 400 gallons per year.* We do not leave the dock that often or for long as we both work, and been there done that many times.* We use far more gas using the water toys which we carry and/or tow.** What I am getting at is if in the colder climes you heat the boat in the winter and then a big cruiser in the summer it can get quite expensive.

*
However, being the Eagle is a long range efficient boat the price and/or the salability should be increasing to off set the increase cost of fuel.* 13 years ago very few people were interest in a slow ugly full displacement trawler.* Trawler was a dirty word and a kiss of death back.** Now*most*are trying to classify their boat as a trawler, to the point the trawler is a meaningless word.

The increase price of fuel will/has effected boating as speed will be reduced, and fewer cruises.* The other big effect is going to be the market demand to more fuel effienct boats.* It will be interesting to*watch the change of*the market*demand as price of fuel increases.* * *
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Old 11-22-2007, 07:11 PM   #18
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Boating and fuel cost

"Good point, beer is about $8 a gallon and I never hear any of my boating friends complain about that! "


I only have a couple friends that drink 3 gallons of beer an hour. And they can only do it for a couple hours at a time, not almost forever like a Lehman.

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Old 11-22-2007, 10:47 PM   #19
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

My choice of boat was heavily influenced by seaworthyness, comfort and most importantly - fuel consumption. I wound up with a gallon an hour boat. One also needs to choose an engine that is small enough so the engine can be worked fairly hard if it is diesel. Steve DeAntoino of Passage Maker magazine ( technical editor ) says that one needs to work the engine at 75% load 75% of the time. He calls it the 75/75 rule. 75% load is determined by finding the engine speed that ones boat burns 75% of the fuel it burns at wide open throttle. Engine manufacturers or engine marineers ( such as Volvo and Cummins ) can usually tell you what the WOT burn rate is. I think the most common response to high fuel costs is to slow down. I shudder to think how many trawler yachts have diesel engines with serious problems ...even glazed cylinder walls from under loading. I choose an engine of only 37 hp and the boat only requires 18hp to cruise. I still am going to have trouble running it hard enough to comply with the 75/75 rule.

Eric Henning
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Old 11-23-2007, 06:32 AM   #20
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RE: Boating and fuel cost

Fuel is one of the happiest costs we have with trawlers. First, our consumption is lower than many other boats in our size class. Second, buying fuel means you've been moving the boat and exploring new areas. Isn't that why we have these things to begin with?
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