Owning a boat can give you an adventure of a lifetime but behind the fun trips lie the reality of financial responsibilities. Don’t let the expenses of boat ownership take the wind out of your sails. Here are some ways to keep your costs low and the satisfaction of managing a boat charter high.
Scheduled boat care and maintenance
Many of us are familiar with the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Don’t you think it is a lot easier to prevent something from happening in the first place than putting a lot of your resources and energy to repair the damage once it has occurred? When it comes to boat and yacht ownership, this saying definitely holds true. Once you purchase a marine vessel, whether it’s a fishing boat or sailing yacht, taking care of your property by observing a regular maintenance schedule becomes one of your top priorities.
Boat maintenance is important for all types of boats – big or small, basic or customized.
- Wash your boat after each outing – Proper maintenance begins with the simple task of washing your boat especially when you sail in salt water. Make it a routine to rinse your boat thoroughly with fresh water after every trip in order to wash away salt residue. This will protect the metal parts, fasteners, and other hardware of your boat from corroding. Regular washing using specially formulated marine boat wash will also protect the original gel coat of your vessel.
- Change engine oil – Just like a car, a boat also requires to have its oil changed periodically but the frequency may vary based on the model. Generally, it is advisable to change the oil annually every 100 hours of operation. You can change the oil (use marine grade oil in your boat engine) by yourself with the use of the right tools or take your boat to your local dealer. If you have no experience changing the oil, you can refer to your owner manual for the exact procedure.
- Engine tune-up – Tuning up your motor involves a series of steps which you can learn on your owner’s manual including oils, lubes, replacement parts, and procedures. When your boat or yacht is new, you might need to consult with the manufacturer because there may be required brands to protect the warranty from becoming void.
- Check boat propeller – If your boat has an outboard or sterndrive, include the inspection of the propeller to your regular maintenance procedure. Make it a must to check the propeller and remove it with a deep-well socket several times during the boating season to ensure that there’s no entangled debris such as discarded fishing line. Check also for signs of dents and other damages which can affect your boat’s performance, lead to an increase in fuel consumption, or put stress on bearings and seals. Detecting small problems early will enable you to bring it for repairs while the problem is still minimal. Otherwise, a neglected minor issue can escalate and lead to more complicated problems that would cost more to fix.
Fuel cost efficiency
- Keep the bottom of your boat clean – If your boat stays afloat on seawater, marine particles can build-up and accumulate on the bottom of your boat. The growth of marine algae and barnacles can significantly affect not only the performance of your hull but also your fuel efficiency. In fact, heavy build-up on the hull can even slow down powerboats by 5 knots and push up its fuel consumption by 30% or more. How to prevent this? Frequent hull cleaning can make your antifouling paint (protective layer applied to the bottom of the boat) last longer especially when it comes to moored and slipped boats. Removing barnacles is part of the cleaning process which you can schedule every couple of weeks. You can either go underwater and scrape off the exoskeletons and remove stains by yourself or you can get underwater boat maintenance professional services.
- Handle the boat wisely – Manage throttles in a smooth manner by applying the right amount of power needed by determining the boat’s optimum cruise speed.
- Proper trim – Plowing, kiting and porpoising contribute to an increase in fuel consumption which can be prevented by properly trimming to lessen the wetted surface of the hull by raising the bow. If your boat has trim issues, you can invest in trim tabs or bolt-on hydrofoils for outboard-powered boats.
- Inspect your prop – When your blade has dents and nicks, it can affect maximum thrust and cause turbulence on the water. A good way to overcome this challenge is to have your prop reconditioned to improve fuel economy.
- Keep the load light – A boat that carries things that it doesn’t need tend to burn extra fuel. Save on fuel and improve your mileage by checking the things that you have on board and determining what you can leave behind on your next trip. You can also lighten the load by carrying just enough fuel with a comfortable margin of safety for your trip. The rule of thumb is you need a third get to your destination, a third to return, and a third as a safety margin.
- Install a boat fuel flow system – This instrument (available for gas and diesel engines respectively) allows you to determine the following: gallons/liters per hour, gallons/liters consumed, gallons/liters remaining, nautical miles per gallon/liter per nautical mile, and distance to empty. With this kind of monitoring system, you can learn so much about your boat’s operation and fuel situation.
Know your tax advantages
Operating your yacht as a business has certain tax advantages. For instance, when you operate your boat as a charter, you can write off part or the whole purchase amount of the vessel and deduct other expenses such as insurance, crew, maintenance, and dockage fee. It is advisable to consult an accountant before making any tax deductions especially if you’re not sure about it.
How can CaptainPanel help you reduce the cost of managing a boat charter?
When you have a boat charter business, you need people to market your services, tend to client inquiries, organize bookings, and facilitate payments. Hiring a bunch of people to fulfill each task can be costly.
We, at CaptainPanel, offer you a more efficient and cost efficient way of doing all these tasks. We can begin by creating a custom-made and mobile-friendly website for you which can give a wider reach than any other form of advertising. We also provide a fast, convenient and efficient boat charter booking system that allows your customers to make real-time bookings and settle the payment online.
CaptainPanel can help you reduce the cost of managing a boat charter by dismissing the need to hire more employees on your side or put up long hours to finalize bookings and create/send invoices. Not to mention, the amount of time needed to reschedule trips upon the request of the client or due to weather issues. With our services, you can focus on providing memorable boating experiences and we will take care of your online booking, invoicing and real-time payment, plus client inquiries.