Mar 20, 2020

Saving Some Boating Bucks

Clean Old Boating Stuff Out Of The Garage, And Buy Used

Some less-expensive used parts, such as anchors, can be just as good as new. See if there are any marine-salvage stores in your area. If you find one, sell your own extra boat stuff and marine hardware. Even pieces of teak or old teak cabinet doors are a find for crafty people. Or sell it on eBay or Craigslist over the winter. Join your marina or yacht-club friends to create a boating swap meet, and put a notice online.

Shop Around For A Marina

You may be comfortable in your marina and dutifully pay the annual bill. But are you getting the best deal? If there are other marinas in your area, shop around; some are operating at less-than-full capacity and would love to have you. (Be sure to explore why one marina may have openings and others don't by checking online for comments from other boaters.) For the sake of a few phone calls and moving his boat to another location, one of our editors saved $1,000/year; though in some parts of the country where marinas are much less expensive, this figure may be very different.

Oil's Well

Buy your engine oil in bulk. An average quart of some types of OBM marine oil may go for around $14. A gallon may go for $40 (a $16 savings). A 4-gallon case goes for about $110 (another $50 in savings, and $114 less than buying it by the quart). Now imagine the savings if you have twin outboards that take 6 or 7 quarts of oil twice a season. If your dockmates all use the same kind of oil, buy cases at a discount.

Anchor Out More Often

Many cruisers prefer to transit from marina to marina. But for a 32-foot cruiser, a typical night in a marina in some parts of the country might cost up to $150, including electricity. Do this 10 nights during the season, and that's $1,500! Instead, plan several nights here and there at anchor, capture the unequalled delight and solitude of a night on the hook, and save the money. Or move away from those high-dollar destinations to those a little off the beaten path, where you might be charged half as much for dockage and other services.

Change Boats?

Adapt when your needs or crew size changes. Maybe downsize to a smaller boat to better utilize your time on the water, save on maintenance costs and fuel, and possibly even store a smaller boat at home on a trailer to avoid marina fees.

Monitor Fuel Burn

If you use a lot of fuel, install a fuel-flow meter to see gallons used and gallons remaining, allowing you to determine real-time fuel efficiency in gallons per hour. Then you'll know your ideal settings for maximum efficiency and performance.