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If your boat has been laid up over winter, now’s a good time to check over it before you head back out. 

The fuel you have on board is something that’s easily overlooked, and as around 6% of Coastguard callouts annually are related to fuel problems, it’s an easy one to check.

Moisture in the tank

If you haven’t taken the boat out for a while it’s possible the fuel has gone stale (oxidised, meaning it doesn’t burn as well). Petrol only really has a shelf life of around 3-4 months in a tank, up to a year with a stabiliser additive. Diesel can suffer from “diesel bug”, bacteria that can grow in the fuel and create a black gunge which will play havoc with filters and the fuel system.. Make sure you drain any stale fuel – it’s better getting mixed back in with the fuel in your car or getting disposed of, rather than causing problems with your motor out on the water.

Will $50 get you home?

With fuel prices rising around the country, that $50 you used to put in the tank to get to your favourite fishing spot and back now doesn’t go as far! Always remember the rule of thumb – budget to use 1/3 of your fuel getting there, 1/3 getting back, leaving 1/3 as reserve if you need it. High fuel prices always make full tanks tempting targets for thieves, so make sure none has gone missing before you head out.

Check the rest too

And while you’re sorting the fuel out, it’s also a good time to check the batteries – just turning the engine over when you’re about to head out isn’t enough, as your battery might not have enough juice after a day of fishing and using the electronics on board to start up again later. Consider getting the battery professionally checked and serviced, so your day on the water isn’t ruined at the end!

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