Gasoline prices may have come down since last year, but moving your powerboat around the lake can still get pretty expensive. Practicing fuel-efficent boating doesn't just keep money in your pocket—it's better for the environment, too. green_scene_2_-_motorboat.jpgWeight: Many people pack for a boat trip as though they're going on vacation for a week. As tempting as it is to bring an extra cooler of food, additional towels and clothes, and every set of waterskis you own, reduce the clutter and bring just what you need for the day's outing. It takes more fuel to push all of that extra weight around. Trim: The faster you can get to a plane, the more efficient you will be: invest in trim tabs to speed up the planing time and reduce drag, and keep people out of the bow (if possible) until the boat hits a plane. Chop: The more waves and chop there is on the lake, the more your engine has to work to move around. If you have the option of going out during a weekday or a quiet weekend morning—rather than the middle of the afternoon on Saturday or a particularly windy day, for example—opt to travel when the lake is as flat as possible. Engine: Consider replacing a carbureted two-stroke outboard engine with a direct-injected two-stroke or a four-stroke engine, both of which consume less fuel and emit fewer emissions. And if you're not going to be blasting across the lake regularly, choose a prop that is geared for your boat's RPM midrange, rather than the top end of the range.  Prop: Keep an eye on your prop to be sure there aren't any broken edges or tangled weeds keeping your efficiency down. Idling: Reduce idling time at the dock or while stopped on the water. Maintenance: Regular engine care is one of the easiest ways to keep efficiency and save yourself from a major repair down the road. Be sure to change your engine's spark plugs, fuel filters, and oil at the recommended times. Pay Attention: It takes a little legwork, but keep track of your average speed and how quickly you go through fuel when you're moving at various speeds and RPMs. (Unlike a vehicle on land, this involves a little more effort—efficiency in motorboats is often measured in gallons consumed per hour of use.) Every boat has a sweet spot where it is most efficient, and the faster you find yours, the more fuel you'll save.

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