Boat efficiency and how to get it

Published 6:28 pm Wednesday, September 11, 2013

With ever increasing costs in today’s world, efficiency is something to be sought after, and efficient boating is something we may overlook.

Running a boat is costly. Even the best 4 stroke engines don’t get the greatest m.p.g. and the old 2 strokes are built for power, not fuel economy. There are a few things you can check to make sure you are running efficiently as possible.

Having the right horsepower engine is very important. You may have a tendency to buy a smaller motor thinking that it will use less fuel, but an underpowered boat is worse than an overpowered one.

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Most boats come with a recommended maximum horsepower limit, but they don’t have a minimum. While you don’t always have to have the maximum horsepower, it’s best to go no lower than two sizes down. An underpowered boat takes much longer to plane off, has to run harder to stay on plane and maintain a desired speed.

The next important factor in motor efficiency is the prop. Props for most mid- size motors and up come in three, four and five blade models. Each has its advantage, three-blade props offer better top end speed, four-blade props have very good hole shot and handling, while five-blade props seem to be the best in all aspects, but has the biggest price tag.

Props also come in different pitch. With lower numbers of pitch grabbing or pushing less water, but allowing a faster turn rate. The higher pitch props push more water, but are harder to turn. In general, a lower pitch prop has better hole shot or take off, while a higher pitch prop has better top end speed. You can adversely affect your engine performance and efficiency by having too much or too little prop. You have to consider what your primary need is and try to prop with that in mind.