boat maintenance

10 Tips: Cleaning Your Boat to Save Fuel

Cleaning Your Boat to Save Fuel
Government of Alberta photo from Flickr

No matter what kind of boat you have, optimum performance is always a good thing. With fuel costing what they are, it literally pays to keep your bottom clean.

This means not only the main hull but your foils (rudders, keels, skegs) and running gear (props, shafts, struts). In fact, the hardest parts to keep clean, propellers and rudders, are the most important. Usually, these are bare metal, but even if painted they are susceptible to fouling. Hard growth on running gear, such as barnacles on a propeller, will have a big effect on a boat’s performance. Any significant barnacle growth on a prop will seriously hurt a boat’s performance.

Cleaning Your Boat to Save Fuel

Keeping any kind of boat clean from top to bottom is essential for optimizing performance. Barnacles are the worst offender, especially on the propellers and rudders. thorough surface cleaning before the boat hits the water is a top priority.
Tips:
1. Ablative paint should frequently be cleaned with a soft sponge but never underwater due to toxins that might be released if abraded. laws prohibit cleaning ablative paint underwater.
2. A strict cleaning regime of sponging the boat every two weeks to maintain a barnacle free surface. this prevents exoskeletons from ruining the smooth finish
3. Hiring a professional to clean your boat if you are not able is more cost effective. Barnacles impede the performance and cost more in fuel than the cost to have it done.
4. Always wear gloves
5. Getting off hard growth is easily done using a two-by-four. It doesn’t gouge the surface and it floats.
6. Clean your boat in safe water conditions.
7. Use the water currents and the sunlight to optimize the process by working with them, not against them.
8. Handholds like suction cups or rope from bow to stern to hold on to conserve energy.
9. Start by cleaning props, shafts, struts first.
10. Clean around the water line where debris accumulates the fastest.

To learn more about how to keep your boat hull and running surfaces clean, read the article 10 Tips for Cleaning Your Boat by Doug Logan on boats.com.

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