Boating Tips: Running On Empty

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Running out of fuel on a boat is dangerous to say the least, and could leave you stranded at sea.

Leisure Boating looks at a few easy ways to keep you motor running.


Always calculate how far your intended trip is going to be. Your trip should seldom use more than one third of the tank’s capacity. Another third is reserved for your trip home and the final third is reserved for unforeseen circumstances such as heavily increased consumption in rough seas.


Usually, if the fuel tank is fitted correctly in the boat, the fuel pickups are on the aft end of the tank. This means that when the boat runs normally with slight bow rise, most of the fuel is shifted towards the fuel pickups.

If you notice you are low on fuel, keeping the boat on the plane with slight bow rise will reduce water friction and increase your ‘return home quickly’ fuel range.


If you are out on the water and it suddenly dawns on you that you forgot to fill up, check your fuel gauge and determine if you can make it back.

If you are not going to make it back to your boat’s point of entry, look for alternative slipways or ports that you can reach on the fuel you have.


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