Category Archives: boats and boating

Boat Fuel Economy

Optimize Your Boat’s Fuel Economy and Range
Advice from the fuel experts at Chevron
from The Fishing Wire

If you’re an avid power boater or fisherman, what truly fuels your passion for time on the water is, well, fuel.

While they are unquestionably the most fun way of getting from Point A to Point B, boats are inherently un-economical conveyances when it comes to fuel consumption. Not only do boats consume a lot of fuel (measured in Gallons Per Hour rather than Miles Per Gallon), they operate in a dynamic environment where wind, waves and currents can cut “normal” fuel economy in half on any given day.

On land, the maximum fuel range of your car is rarely of critical concern — cars are generally fuel efficient and there are gas stations everywhere. Boats are different. Once you leave the harbor or launch ramp, you are generally limited to the fuel your boat carries onboard. On the water, fuel range is the limiting factor that dictates everything — from how far you can run to find fish to how long you can stay out looking for and/or catching them.

There are some simple steps all power boaters can take to squeeze every drop of fun out of their boat’s fuel tank, whether it’s an aluminum walleye rig, high-performance bass boat or multi-engine offshore fishing machine that holds 400 gallons.

1. Always start full. Well, duh…but you’d be surprised how many fishermen try to save a little time or money by not fueling up before each trip. You never know what a fishing day will bring, and you don’t want to have to stop short if the fish are farther away or the weather comes up. Also remember the rule of thirds when it comes to estimating your boat’s range – a third of a tank for the day’s fishing, a third of your fuel to get back, and a third to keep in reserve. Smart boaters who’ve learned from past mistakes know that “empty” can sneak up pretty fast when conditions change, so they keep a good amount in reserve just in case.

2. Lose some weight. Carrying unnecessary weight or having an unbalanced weight load can change the way a boat rides and drastically reduce fuel economy and range. Go through your boat and consider removing things you don’t really need, like extra fishing gear you never use, boxes of lead sinkers, extra anchors and chain, old expired fire extinguishers, and the like. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, so it’s easy to see how filling live bait tanks and livewells when they’re not needed can really weigh you down and cut fuel economy.

3. Know your boat’s “sweet spot.” Every boat/motor combination has its own “sweet spot” where it’s operating most efficiently. In magazine boat tests, this is often referred to as Most Economical Cruising Speed. Depending on vessel style and hull type, it may be quite a bit faster than you imagine. Most modern boats/outboard engines come equipped with fuel computer systems, which allow you to track fuel consumption at various engine RPMs and boat speeds. You can compute your Most Economical Cruising Speed by looking at the Gallons Per Hour being burned and cross referencing it with the boat’s GPS speed. For example, if you’re burning 10 gallons per hour and traveling at 20 miles per hour, you’re netting 2 miles per gallon. You might find, however, that your boat burns 13 gallons per hour at 32 miles per hour, which works out to almost 2.5 miles per gallon. At this cruising speed, you’ll get where you’re going faster while ultimately burning less fuel. It’s important to figure this out with your boat loaded the way you normally use it, which might be loaded with a full tank, gear and fishing buddies.

4. Propellers matter. Your boat’s propeller(s) is responsible for efficiently translating the RPMs of the boat’s engine into forward movement of the vessel. There are a wide variety of propeller types and sizes, and finding the right one for your boat may require some trial and testing. One of the key propeller measurements is pitch, which refers to how much forward movement it provides. For example, a propeller with a pitch size of 21 will move forward 21 inches for each turn, while a “less aggressive” 18-pitch propeller will move three inches less. When you consider that high performance outboard engines can run at 5,000+ RPMs for sustained periods, this can make a huge difference. A propeller with too much pitch will make it hard for a boat to get “out of the hole” and accelerate from a standstill. A propeller with too little pitch might over-rev the engine and reduce top-end performance. Either one can negatively impact fuel range and economy. A well-matched propeller will allow the engine to fall within the manufacturer’s recommended maximum RPM range (say 5,000-5,500 RPM) when the boat is well trimmed and running at Wide Open Throttle (WOT).

5. Keep the engine and fuel system clean. Techron Marine Fuel Treatment provides boaters with the cleaning power they’ve long counted on in their automobiles and tow vehicles. The fuel experts at Chevron developed this specialized formula to clean gasoline engines used in the harshest marine environments. When used with every fill up, Techron Marine restores power and maximizes fuel efficiency by cleaning fuel injectors, throttle bodies, carburetors, intake valves and combustion chambers, preventing corrosion and removing gum, varnish and carbon deposits. It also keeps the entire fuel system clean, preventing gunk, corrosion and deposits in the tanks, fuel lines, filters and fuel pumps from interrupting fuel flow and compromising performance. A fuel system kept clean with Techron Marine will also deliver quick and easy starting in any weather, smoother idling and faster response when it’s time to hit the throttle. With a range of economical bottle sizes and a treat rate of just one ounce per 10 gallons of fuel, Techron Marine is a cost-effective way to stretch the fuel range of any gasoline-powered boat.
Doing these things will help maximize your range and time on the water between visits to the fuel pump. It’s also important to remember to treat your fuel when you won’t be using your boat for an extended time. In addition to cleaning your engine and fuel system and keeping everything running like a top, Techron Marine Fuel Treatment provides best-in-class corrosion protection and stabilizes fuel up to 24 months.

To learn more about optimizing your boat’s fuel efficiency and range, while protecting your boat’s fuel system and engine in the harshest marine environments, visit www.TechronClean.com.

Boating Safety Violations and Danger

Memorial Day week I jokingly mentioned sitting at a boat ramp over the weekend and watching the comedy show. Too many folks get a boat and don’t have a clue about backing a trailer. And they don’t go to an empty parking lot to train, they wait until they are at a busy boat ramp to cause problems for everyone else.

Some of those same folks on the water are no joking matter. Far too many people drive boats without a clue on safety rules and laws. And boat wrecks happen every year because of it.

Last year I got run out of a marked channel at Lake Guntersville by drivers not following the most basic rule of boating two different times in one day. Both were by boat ”captains” in an Alabama High School tournament.

I was running down the right sides of the narrow channels and they headed right toward me, forcing me to either go to my left and their right, violating the law, or run out into the grass. I chose the grass partly because if I went to their right and they suddenly changed course, I would have been the one in the wrong if we hit.

A picture of a bass boat that had obviously been hit on the port (left) side by another boat was posted on Facebook a week ago. I found out they were running about 40 MPH at night in a tournament when another boat in the tournament, coming across their path from the left, hit them.
Apparently, the young driver in the boat that hit the other bass boat either didn’t see them or didn’t know they had the right of way. To make it worse, they boat in the wrong did not have front running lights.

Front running lights tell you which way a boat is facing in the dark. There is a green light on the starboard (right) side and a red light on the port side. So if you see a red light the boat is going to your left and it has the right of way. The white light at the stern (rear) of the boat confirms this and is easier to see from a distance.

Red and green lights on a boat are like the traffic lights at an intersection. If you see the red light, the other boat has the right of way. A green light gives you right of way, but since so many people don’t know the rules it is best to avoid getting near another boat day or night.

At Lake Eufaula a couple of weeks ago I idled from the campground to the boat ramp in the dark on Saturday morning. A steady stream of boats in the BFL idled from the ramp on my left to the boat basin on my right to get ready for blast off. It took me about ten minutes to make the trip, and about 50 boats went by.

Boat after boat showed their green starboard light to me. Then one went by showing a red light on its starboard side, opposite of what it should be. Either it was installed wrong or someone working on the boat somehow got it changed backwards.

Imagine running down the lake in the dark and seeing a red and green light ahead. The lights tell you to go to the right, justly like in a car on the highway. But with lights reversed it would be confusing.

For years I would go to Clarks Hill during the summer and sleep all day and fish all night for a week at a time. I always enjoyed fishing at night when the air is cooler, the fish are feeding and there are few boats on the water as opposed to fishing on hot days when the fish don’t bite and the lake is crowded.

My bass clubs used to have night tournaments every July and August but several members are afraid to fish at night now due to idiots on the water.

I saw a good example of how dumb folks can be one night at Jackson. I was fishing a point near the dam in the dark when I barely made out a boat idling past about 100 yards out from me. As it went by a spotlight hit the two young girls in a tube 100 feet behind the boat, being pulled along. There were lights on the boat but not on the girls.

A game warden had seen them and put his spotlight on the girls. He stopped the boat and I heard him lecture the adults in the boat about the danger of what they were doing and that it was illegal. He said he would not give them a ticket but they must be safe.

The game warden left, the folks in the boat cranked up and merrily went on their way towing the two young girls in the tube behind the boat in the dark.

The closest I have ever come to hitting another boat happened just after dark at Clarks Hill. I was fishing up Little River, planning on fishing most of the night, when lightning in an approaching thunderstorm made me head to my mobile home at the boat club.

Going in, a small island sits about 100 yards off the bank just above Raysville Bridge. The water is deep enough out between the island and bank to run through there, and it saves a couple minutes off going around the island. Since the lightning was getting closer I was running about 45 MPH as I turned to go between the island and bank.

Suddenly a flashlight came on just feet ahead of me. Someone had paddled a boat out there and anchored to fish in the dark, without lights. I am sure I soaked the folks in the boat as I went by, I could not have been more than five feet from them.

Follow the laws and rules on the water and be safe out there.

Do Not Put E-15 Gas In Your Boat!!

Several new gas stations in our area carry the new E-15 15 percent Ethanol gas. DO NOT put it in your boat – or any other small engine.  It will ruin an outboard motor if you run E-15 in it.

    For years we looked for “white gas” to run in our small outboards.  It ran cleaner but was more expensive.  After I got my first big outboard, a 1974 70 HP Evinrude, I ran regular gas in all my outboards but then around 2010 E-10, ten percent ethanol gas, gas with alcohol in it, was mandated by the federal government.

    Starting in 2004, I was running a 2004 225 Yamaha fuel injected motor.  It locked up om 2011 during a
West Point tournament.  I was lucky, Yamaha repaired the motor for free even though it was two years out of warranty. They got me as a customer for life from that service! I am now convinced ethanol gas broke my motor.

    When 2004 motors were made, ethanol gas was not popular and my owner’s manual said nothing about using it, so I ran it.  Apparently, Yamaha stood behind many of their motors during that time although it was not their fault!

    Now, as E-15 becomes popular and may be mandated by the federal government, we may have to seek out non-ethanol gas for our outboards. It is more expensive, of course, and harder to find, but may be the only way to keep running outboards.

I understand every small motor, from chainsaws and lawnmowers to four wheelers and generators, may have the same problem.

WARNING – 15% Ethanol Gas Will Ruin Your Boat Motor – Don’t Get Confused

Confusing and Ineffective Fuel Pump Warning Labels a Risk for Boaters

from The Fishing Wire

SPRINGFIELD, Va. – Efforts by the ethanol industry to create a new federal rule that would weaken or eliminate important warning labels designed to prevent boaters and consumers from misfueling with prohibited higher-ethanol fuels at roadside gas pumps has Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) concerned. The national recreational boating advocacy, services and safety group recently co-signed a letter to EPA Administrator Elizabeth Dermott addressing the proposed “E15 Fuel Dispenser Labeling and Compatibility With Underground Storage Tanks” legislation (EPA-HW-OAR-202-0448) and urging the federal regulator to side with consumers on its Misfueling Mitigation Program (MMP) to ensure transparency in the sale of fuel to consumers.

“Ethanol manufacturers are pushing to blend more ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply. To accomplish that, consumers are not being fully informed at the roadside pump about the type of fuel going into their boats’ gas tanks,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “New marketing schemes to brand these prohibited 15% ethanol fuels as ‘regular 88,’ promoting them as a low-cost alternative and, at the same time, attempting to drive federal rulemaking efforts to reduce and weaken warning labels at the pump is an anti-consumer one-two-three punch that should not be tolerated.”

The proposed rulemaking provides no new data on a theoretical basis to support the proposals to either decrease the stringency of the existing E15 warning label or eliminate it altogether. A 2020 Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) poll shows that only about one in five consumers know that “regular 88” — or 88 octane fuel — has more ethanol (15%) in it than 87 octane (10% ethanol) fuel.

Use of ethanol fuel blends with more than 10% ethanol, such as “regular 88,” in recreational boat engines, motorcycles, off-road vehicles and power equipment is prohibited by federal law. E15 fuels have been proven to damage engines and fuel systems, and its use in a marine engine voids the warranty.

Consumers have indicated the need for a better, more effective higher-blend ethanol fuel warning label design as well as more prominent placement of the warning label on the pump. A recent national poll shows that just 18.25% of consumers think the current E15 label used at gas pumps across the country is very effective for warning that E15 is hazardous to certain types of engines.

EPA has also worked to broaden the availability of E15 fuel in the U.S., including most recently with the 2019 repeal of summertime restrictions on its sale. These restrictions were originally implemented years ago to address concerns over the higher ethanol fuel’s contribution to ground level ozone (smog) on hot days.

“Visit a local gas station dispensing higher ethanol fuels and look for the warning label on the pump,” added Kennedy. “It’s often hidden or buried along with a mountain of promotional signage. EPA should help consumers make the right fuel choice, and efforts to weaken the Misfueling Mitigation Program, such as stripping away label elements that indicate a warning message or exclude mention of 15% ethanol altogether, only accommodate the interests of ethanol producers and harm boaters.”

Boat Trailer Steps

picture of my boat steps

    My first bass boat was a 1974 16-foot Arrowglass with a 70 horsepower Evinrude motor on it. It sat on a single axle trailer and I pulled it for the first three years with my Cutlass Supreme Convertible before buying my first van in 1977.

    With the car, I could back the boat into the water, slide across the trunk and stand on the trailer tongue to unhook he winch. As I pushed the boat back off the trailer I would hop on the front deck.

    The van was as little more difficult.  If I had to back in until the back tires were in the water I would hang on to the rain gutter, step up on the tire then swing around to the bumper. Then I could get on the trailer tongue. I did that through three different vans until I got a pickup.

    With the pickup I often have to climb into the bed, step over the tailgate onto the bumper then onto the trailer tongue.  It has gotten harder and harder to do this then crawl rather than hop up onto the boat deck as the boat slides off the trailer.

    My current Skeeter came with a flat tool boat on the trailer tongue, about 18 inches square and a great place to stand while unhooking the winch. It had one step to the side of the front of the trailer by the boat and that made it a lot easier to get in and out of the front of the boat.

    Recently, boat manufacturers have been putting steps on their trailers. Some have three or four steps, and some have a pole to hang onto beside them. I wanted a set like that but the ones I priced were just too high, many over $400 and that did not include shipping or installation.

    A month or so ago at a tournament at West Point, Donald Wells gave me some business cards for James Hewitt and his Boat Steps. James lives in LaGrange and will come to the boat ramp and install the steps he makes for $250, a great price.  Two guys in the Sportsman Club had him install steps on their boats last month. They were very pleased so last week I called James and he met me after the Flint River tournament weigh-in last Sunday and put steps on my boat trailer in just a few minutes.

    The three steps and pole allow me to hold on and ease up and onto the front deck without much trouble.  I have seen a 300-pound guy use the steps and they flexed very little. The steps are well made, welded and heavy steel. 

    If you are interested in steps for your boat you can contact James at 706-668-3459 cell or 770-854-8713 home.  I put a picture of his steps installed on my boat on my website at https://fishing-about.com/boat-trailer-steps/

If Its Got Tires…

There is a saying that goes something like “if it has tires you will have trouble with it.”  That is especially true if you dunk the tires under water often. Boat trailer tires are notorious for causing problems.

    For many years maintenance was fairly simple. You checked and repacked your bearings every year and kept a watch on them during trips. Even with that care you could have problems.  Before he passed away, Jack “
Zero” Ridgeway took care of me and my boat trailer.  It is hard to find a good reliable place to work on boat trailer tires.

    One time when I was leaving for Lake Martin, a 125 mile trip each way, I noticed one of my tires wobbled a little. I stopped at Zero’s shop and he changed the bearings and got me on the way in a few minutes.

    Twice I have had to replace one of the axles on my EZLoader Skeeter Trailers.  One time I hit a curb trying to get out on a busy highway and bent the spindle on one tire.  I was wearing out a tire every 400 miles on that spindle, so it was very cost effective to replace it.

    Another time I was backing in at Lake Lanier and someone hollered at me that I was losing a tire. I got out and one tire was at an angle.  It fell off with a little tug. I had to get a flatbed wrecker to bring my boat home to Zero to fix. Somehow that tire hung on all the way up the 5 different interstate highways at 70 plus MPH and waited until I was on the ramp to fall off!

    My newer trailer has oil bath bearings, not the old kind you kept grease in. These hold oil and are supposed to be long lasting.  I never noticed a problem with that tire before it fell off, but it was bad enough to ruin that spindle.

    Last week I noticed one of my tires and rims had oil all over it, not a good sign.  I really did not know what to do, just that something had to be done. Luckily, I was referred to Mike’s Trailer Hitches and Accessories at 3418 North Expressway.  I took my boat to him and he checked, the cap was leaking a little and he filled it back up with oil and ordered me a new cap.

Service was friendly and helpful and its nice finding someone to work on wheel bearings on boat trailers.  I hope I don’t go there much, but when I need work done I know where to go!

ZEBRA MUSSELS FOUND IN GEORGIA

MORE ZEBRA MUSSELS FOUND IN GEORGIA; DNR URGES PUBLIC TO KEEP WATCH

Remember to Clean, Drain and Dry Vessels Used in Other States

SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (April 20, 2021) – With zebra mussels found on a boat in the Lake Lanier area, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources is urging boat owners to CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY their boats, and be aware of the potential for transferring these invasive mussels from waters in other states.

Owners of a boat taken to Lanier after being used on the Tennessee River near Chattanooga, Tenn., recently spotted zebra mussels on the boat and called DNR.

Staff from the agency’s Wildlife Resources Division removed about 1 gallon of dead mussels from the boat and worked with the owners to ensure the vessel was drained, properly cleaned and thoroughly dried. DNR commended the owners for recognizing the issue and taking the necessary steps to report it.

Zebra mussels, a species native to eastern Europe that has spread to many U.S. waters, including the Tennessee River, pose a significant risk to Georgia. If established here they could spur major ecological and economic damage. Zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species can cause millions of dollars in damage to boats and water intake pipes, while undermining native mussels and other aquatic species. 

There is no known established population in Georgia. However, in March zebra mussels were found in Georgia pet stores attached to moss ball plants being sold for aquariums.

For more information on these aquatic invaders and how to report them, as well as how to properly CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY vessels, visit georgiawildlife.com/ans.

Protect Your Boat’s Fuel System During Winter Storage


Check out these tips for keeping your boat’s engines gunk-free and ready to go when the weather warms again next spring.
from The Fishing Wire

Serious boaters know that proper care and maintenance of their rigs are the cornerstones of trouble-free boating. Whether you are an avid angler, watersports enthusiast or family cruiser, you want your boat to start up easily, run great and get great fuel efficiency every time you venture out on the water.

Taking care of your boat is even more important when you’re storing it for an extended period of time. This holds true whether you’re storing your rig for the offseason or just not going to be using it for a while.

The first and most important step is to use a high-performance fuel additive to stabilize your fuel and protect the entire fuel system from the build up of gum, varnish and corrosion over time. Techron Marine Fuel System Treatment was scientifically formulated by the fuel experts at Chevron to provide the highest level of protection during extended storage, while also fighting the corrosive effects of the harsh marine environment.

Ethanol Issues
More than 98% of gasoline sold in the United States contains ethanol, which attracts water into your boat’s fuel system. During offseason storage — or any period of infrequent operation — this water accelerates fuel oxidation, the formation of gum and varnish and can lead to corrosion in the fuel system. It left too long, this corrosion, varnish and gum can cause permanent damage to your boat’s fuel system.

Some boaters attempt to prevent this by draining their fuel system in preparation for storage. This is often impractical, and it also wastes money and gasoline. Most importantly, it can actually create problems. Draining the tank exposes the metal components inside to condensation, which may accelerate fuel system corrosion. It can also cause internal components in your fuel system to dry and crack over time, leading to potential hazards and leaks.

In addition, there will usually be some fuel left in the tank after draining, and it will be subject to oxidation. This can create gum and varnish that can restrict fuel injectors, gum up carburetors, and even clog the system badly enough to cause a fuel pump failure.Stabilize A Full Tank
Instead of draining the tank, add Techron Marine to a nearly empty fuel tank and then fill it up nearly to the top with quality gasoline. Leave just a little room for expansion. Then, run the engine for a few minutes to allow the treatment to circulate throughout the system. It only takes one ounce of Techron Marine to treat 10 gallons of fuel, so follow instructions and make sure you are dosing the fuel properly.

Techron Marine has been scientifically engineered to keep fuel fresh for up to 24 months. Head-to-head laboratory tests have shown that Techron is also a top performer when it comes to engine and fuel system cleaning and corrosion protection in the harshest environments — especially in salt water. Because of this, Techron Marine is an ideal additive for use with every fill up, not just during storage. Used regularly, Techron Marine can help keep a boat’s fuel system and engine running clean, strong and at peak efficiency. It works in all types of gasoline-powered boats including two-stroke, four-stroke, carbureted, port- or electronic fuel-injected and direct injected engines.

This versatility to stabilize fuel for extended storage and also protect boat fuel systems all season long contributed to Techron Marine winning a 2019 Top Product Award from leading trade journal 

Boating Industry magazine.
Visit www.TechronClean.com to learn more.

NMMA: Consumers Believe Current E15 Label Is Ineffective In Protecting Consumers


The results of a new national poll initiated by a group of organizations representing manufacturers, retailers, and consumers of non-road engine equipment and products reveals the vast majority of consumers find current E15 labeling at gas pumps to be ineffective in communicating the dangers of this type of fuel for usage in small engines like those in boats, off road vehicles, motorcycles, and lawn mowers.

Led by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the survey, conducted by Survey Monkey during the week of November 2, 2020, polled a nationally representative pool of 515 users aged 20 to 65 on their awareness of E15, a type of gasoline blended with 10.5-15% ethanol. The full results, which focused on consumer labeling of the fuel, can be found here.

Among the key findings:
A mere 18.25% of consumers think the current E15 label used at gas pumps across the country is very effective in showing that E15 is hazardous to certain types of engines.Consumers were more than four times as likely to prefer a prototype design with direct language and visual representations of the fuel’s risk, saying the improved label elements of the prototype more clearly serve as a warning than the current label.77.5% of respondents cited red as the best color of a label to convey warning, a contrast to the existing label color.

Over 80% of respondents found the use of icons and visuals to be more effective than text-only versions.Considering only the text on the labels, consumers were twice as likely to say that the prototype had more effective language in communicating the hazards and risks of E15 than the real label.Beyond the design and wording of the label, another concern for consumers is the inconsistent placement of the E15 label at gas pumps: Roughly 70% of consumers noted that inconsistent or hidden E15 label placement made the labels less effective overall.

This survey follows recent consideration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change, or remove E15 labels altogether, to encourage greater use of the biofuel. While the EPA has not specified what form these changes might take, they would likely further limit consumer warning measures and further exacerbate the misfuelling crisis. As the survey results demonstrate, any E15 label decision that fails to prioritize consumer safeguards would likely result in significant safety and financial implications for millions of consumers of products banned for E15 use by EPA.

The results of this survey exemplify that the EPA should exercise a more robust label testing process to develop an improved label, expanding on the research put forth by NMMA and its partners. This solicitation of consumer label expert advice will ensure that the new label incorporates elements that are clear to the average person. For example, in the survey put forth by NMMA and its partners, consumers rated elements such as visual reinforcement, coloring, and the amount and type of language as the most effective to convey warning.

To improve E15 labeling and educate consumers, NMMA and its partners developed a prototype label incorporating elements that consumers rated as most effective, including visual reinforcement, coloring, and clear, unambiguous language. In fact, 91.26% of respondents thought the prototype was either somewhat effective or very effective in showing that the fuel is hazardous to certain types of engines, compared to just 55.34% for the current label. As the EPA looks toward new labeling regulations, industry and consumer organization partners have called on the Federal government to factor in these considerations and solicit expert advice and consumer label research to better protect and inform consumers.

“If there’s one thing apparent from the latest findings, it’s that we should be doing more to educate and warn consumers about the potential hazards of E15—not obscuring this information and increasing the likelihood that people will unknowingly incur costly damages,” said Nicole Vasilaros, Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs at NMMA.

“As a representative of the recreational boating industry, making sure our boaters and the broader public have the proper information they need to make decisions at the gas pump has been a major focus of NMMA and it will continue to be in the days ahead.”

“This new polling confirms what our own surveys have shown for years – consumers need clearer labels at the fuel pump. There are more fuel blends and choices on the marketplace today, and consumers don’t always realize that what works in their car or truck, may damage their small engine equipment not designed, built or warranted for it,” said Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute and the TurfMutt Foundation.

“As the regulator of the fuels marketplace, the Federal government needs to improve pump labeling and educate consumers on the fuel blends available and how they should be used.”

“The E15 warning label has never adequately alerted motorcyclists to the dangers of using E15 fuel in their motorcycles. This survey shows how simple changes can go a long way to increase the effectiveness of the label, prevent inadvertent misfuelling and keep motorcyclists safer,” said Michael Sayre, AMA’s Director of Government Relations.

“The results of this survey couldn’t be clearer: the current warning label does not adequately educate consumers on the potential hazards of E15,” said Adam Fortier-Brown, Government Relations Manager for the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas.

“Updating this label to be more effective is long overdue. Doing so would provide a safer fueling experience for consumers so they do not unwittingly void their warranties and reduce the longevity and fuel efficiency of their engines. Our industry urges EPA to address this need by implementing a more effective label with standard placement on pumps to adequately educate consumers on current regulations.”

“This information highlights what many boaters already know: not enough is being done to protect us from the harmful effects of higher ethanol blends on boat engines and fuel systems. While many boaters prefer having an ethanol free option, they have learned to live with gasoline blended with up to 10 percent ethanol. It is vital the EPA act to protect boating consumers from the higher ethanol blends using tools such as clear, unambiguous labeling at the pump,” said David B. Kennedy, Government Affairs Manager, Boat Owners of the United States (BoatU.S.).

“The recently released E15 label survey results conducted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association are compelling and warrant consideration by policymakers,” said Mike Leonard, Vice President, American Sportfishing Association. “E15’s presence in the fuel supply is dangerous to recreational boaters and anglers, especially with a warning label that fails to sufficiently convey the problems it poses to motorboat engines. These results suggest that there are important changes to consider for the benefit and safety of America’s fuel consumers. We look forward to working with NMMA on holding the Environmental Protection Agency to a higher standard of fuel consumer safety and public education regarding E15 fuels.

”The overwhelming evidence from consumers suggests that policymakers should reevaluate the impacts of inconsistent E15 labeling, and look towards a renewed label testing process when putting forth alternatives. NMMA, AMA, and OPEI have long urged the Federal Government to gather consumer label research and reevaluate the ramifications of ambiguous E15 labels. Particularly at a time when many new consumers are entering the market, improving education and awareness on fuel blends and how they should be a top priority area for the EPA.

For more information, please contact NMMA director of federal government relations, Callie Hoyt at choyt@nmma.org.

Why You Probably Need a Jackplate


Here are some interesting tips on jackplates for bass and flats boats, from noted tournament pro and flats angler
by Bernie Schultz.
from the Fishing Wire



Ask any touring pro if a hydraulic jackplate is worth the money, and I’d bet their answer would be an emphatic “yes!”

On the Bassmaster Elite Series, they’re considered essential equipment … for multiple reasons.Although they may be a bit pricey, hydraulic jackplates can vastly improve the performance of your bass boat or flats boat    — both at the top end and in the ability to run shallower at low or high speeds. They can even improve the ride.

A simple touch of a lever or toggle switch allows the operator to raise or lower the outboard engine while under power, at any speed. Combine that with the engine’s power trim and you’ll realize advantages beyond the obvious.

Skinny as she goes
Consider bedding season when, on some lakes and rivers, you’re dealing with vast, shallow flats — places where the fish may concentrate only in small areas.

Covering water is required to find those fish, and using a trolling motor to do it can be tedious and time consuming. Idling with the main engine makes much more sense. But without a jackplate, you would have to trim the engine up, which squats the stern and bogs the engine down, making maneuvering much more difficult … not to mention the added disturbance it causes in situations requiring stealth.

With a hydraulic jackplate, you can raise the engine up high and adjust the trim to give the boat a flatter attitude. This not only improves maneuverability, it allows you to increase idle speed to cover more water while creating less disturbance.

Hydraulic Jackplates can improve your boat’s performance in multiple ways.
The ability to raise the engine also allows you to plane off in shallow water — much shallower than would be possible with a fixed engine height. This is a huge advantage, especially in places that normally require long idle times to reach adequate planing depths.

A trick I learned from flats fishing in saltwater is to take advantage of the clockwise rotational lift of a spinning prop. By turning the steering wheel all the way to the left (which puts the leading edge of the skeg facing right, the same direction of the prop’s clockwise rotation) you then realize added lift when applying full throttle. This kicks the stern around and actually throws out a small wake, which provides a slight increase in water depth for the prop to bite in.

In addition, with the engine cocked at an angle, you minimize contact with lake bottom as the boat leans to one side. As the hull begins to plane, you gradually lower the engine to submerge the water pickup. (This is critical, as you do not want to starve the engine for water for any length of time.)

Using this counterclockwise maneuver, the boat will usually spin to a full circle before reaching planing speed. And it happens quick, so it’s a good idea to plan your exit route ahead of time. Once up and running, you simply adjust the trim and engine height to your liking.

Here’s a short video that demonstrates the technique.Here’s an aerial view of a boat performing a circular, shallow-water hole shot. Notice the mud trail. 

Digging deeper
While hydraulic jackplates prove beneficial in the shallows, they can also enhance performance in deep water.

Because they set the engine farther from the transom (usually up to 12 inches), it effectively increases the overall length of the boat — which, in turn, makes it bridge more water. And that’s good, especially in rougher conditions. But the biggest advantage is the additional leverage they provide.

By dropping the jackplate and tucking the engine under, you can greatly improve handling in choppy water. This added “pinch” on the hull and motor will force the bow down to create a flatter ride. If you have ever plowed through rough seas in a strong headwind, then you know how critical this can be. Bass boats are notoriously stern heavy. When you factor the weight of multiple batteries, an onboard charger, fuel, livewells, Power-Poles and gear, keeping the bow down can become a serious challenge, and a hydraulic jackplate will compensate for that. 

Need for speed
For the totally performance minded, jackplates also add top-end speed with better handling. By lifting most of the lower unit out of the water, you minimize torque at the wheel and decrease drag. Add a bit of trim and the bow will lift while increasing speed. The trick here is finding just the right height with the plate and proper trim to reach the ideal RPMs … all while maintaining sufficient water pressure.

Every boat will be different, so it may take some tweaking with the right prop and engine position to realize your boat’s top-end speed.

There are a number of quality jackplates on the market, including CMC, SeaStar, Bob’s Machine Shop and T-H Marine. And most of these brands offer multiple offset sizes (6, 8, 10 and 12 inches are common) capable of handling the weight of large-block outboards. I run a 12-inch Atlas by T-H Marine. It’s quick, quiet and self-contained with no messy remote pumps or hoses, and it works well under power in a chop. I also run one on my saltwater skiff and have for years with zero issues. Most brands offer a console gauge to monitor engine height, but they won’t tell you if your water pickup is submerged and functioning.

For that you’ll need a reliable water pressure gauge. Believe me; you can jack an engine to the point where it’s starving for water. If you do that for more than a few seconds at speed, you can fry your engine.

One last tip: If you’re using your jackplate for top end performance, I highly recommend mounting a lever-style switch on the steering column. Just like the blinker switch in your car, it’s quick and handy. In fact, I suggest mounting a matching trim lever on the opposite side. That way, both hands are always on the wheel, which will ensure a much safer boating experience.

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