How to Budget Your Boating Season
It's no secret that boating is a costly activity. If you're not careful, fuel prices, docking fees and routine maintenance expenses can put a damper on anyone's boating plans. That is why we've put together a few helpful hints to keep your boating expenses to a minimum this season!
Plan Shorter Excursions
Instead of your usual weekend cruise up and down the coast, stick to shorter day trips. A day on the water is still a day on the water, no matter where you go. Here in Sarasota, FL, we like to cruise a few miles off the coast and float in the gulf. After a full day of sun, we're ready to pull anchor and head home! Staying closer to home means you'll save on gas, plus you also cut costs by passing up overnight dockage fees.
If you have a bigger boat and still insist on taking longer trips, you may want to think of inviting a few friends to share the getaway and some of its costs.
Travel in Groups
This goes hand in hand with sticking to shorter excursions. Although taking longer cruises always seems like an exciting trip, consider getting a few of your fellow boaters together and organizing a day at your local sandbar, or even rafting up together in a traffic free area. A day on the water with all of your friends is an event of its own.
Be Fuel Efficient
Know your boat's most efficient cruise speed and stick to it. For scenic runs, consider cruising at idle speed, which usually gives you the best mileage. Even having a clean hull makes a difference; waxing it with a high-tech polish like Star Brite Teflon polish will make it more slippery and help reduce drag.
Do Your Research
Planning ahead is a big help when it comes to sticking to a budget. Check AAA discounts at local marinas and docks for better fuel prices. If your weekend routine is cruising over to your favorite watering hole, ask about their weekly specials (happy hour, free live music, etc.) and try timing your arrival around them. Cutting coupons never hurt either; visit sites like www.couponsalacarte.com to get savings on nearby eateries while you're on the water.
Next time you pack up your cooler, use pre-frozen drinks in lieu of that extra bag of ice. Water and Gatorade bottles work best. For longer treks, consider using three coolers: one large efficient cooler for your main food supply, one medium cooler for daily supply and the third cooler for ice and drinks. Open the large cooler only once a day to move your daily food into the middle cooler. It sounds a bit like leap frog, but it definitely helps conserve the cold!
The new boating season is here and the marine industry is promoting great bargains on new boats, non-current boats (never sold boats that are not of the current model year), PWC's, used boats and of course, parts and accessories. With iboats.com's Spring Savings Event, nows the time to buy new water toys, electronics, or needed repair or "spruce-up-your-boat" parts. Now is also the time to make sure you have a list of all those new and old items on your boat and that they are covered by your boat owners insurance policy. Make special note of the more expensive electronics items. Hopefully you will not have to make an insurance claim for the loss of the accessories or your boat but it's good to make sure you and your insurance company know what you have . . . just in case.
This article is courtesy of the National Boat Owners Association (NBOA). For more helpful boating information and safety tips visit www.nboat.com.
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