Sailors are not gloating at the fuel price hike that all boaters will face on November 1st. Although we use a fraction of the fuel that our motor boat cousins do there is still a sense of outrage at the injustice of charging what was meant to be a road duty for vehicles that dont use roads!.
HMRC have announced that we can declare a 60/40 ratio of engine to domestic heating use for diesel purchased. In other words for every 100 litres purchased, 40 litres will be subject to the current rate of duty – 9.69 pence per litre at 5% VAT – and 60 litres will be subject to full duty – 50.35ppl at 17.5% VAT.
The statement from our tax authority says .. “HMRC also appreciates the concerns of users about the difficulty of calculating and apportioning their own intended usage accurately and their worries about unintentionally making an inaccurate declaration.”… well how thoughtful of them!
What has not been said is that the excessive road tax duties on fuel and car ownership were intended to contain road usage within the road system’s capacity; to increase road transport efficiency by controlling congestion; and raise funds for road maintenance. At no time do I recall road tax or fuel duties being considered as a way of reducing boat traffic on the high seas.
Does the government think there are too many traffic jams in the Channel? or has the number of boats exceeded the capacity of the oceans to accommodate us? Has the government had to spend more on maintaining the waves?
Will the taxes raised be spent to improve harbours? fund the coastguard? subsidise boat manufacture for the employment benefits in our coastal areas?
Having written already on the subject of fuel consumption and even carrying a picture of a friend’s power boat on this blog..I thought I would continue this worrying trend by writing about Garmin’s nice little flow meter – the GFS 10
This not only displays the current fuel level (based on initial reading less flow) but comes up with a single “Economy” reading (in nm/gal) that will have power boat skippers skipping with delight. This help a skipper see his nm/gal consumption automatically therefore taking into account current sea conditions, power applied, and speed over the ground. You can then have a good stab at optimising throttle position to give the best fuel economy. You can also connect up one sensor per engine.
So if you have the GMI 10 marine instrument display then you can connect up the GFS 10 fuel sensor using NMEA2000 – other GPSMAP 4xx and 5xx series units require Garmin’s own CANet™ connection.
Specs for the fuel sensor:
Maximum flow rate: up to 50 GPH per engine
Minimum flow rate: 2 GPH
Maximum back pressure: 0.5 PSI at 20 GPH/1.0 PSI at 40 GPH
I bumped into an old friend at the marina last week who showed me his brand new power boat a Sealine SC35 – wow what a boat. I do not – of course – approve of power boats – but I must say that sitting in the cockpit sipping champagne on a balmy summers evening was rather cool…
What struck me most was how beautifully modern it looked – not bling but chic..everything was still perfectly functional for seafaring but at speed – 34 knots to be precise!..all coming from 2 x 260hp diesel engines.
Being ever practical, and not being in the same oil baron league as my friend – I got to thinking about diesel fuel consumption now that marine diesel is going to double in price. Exact consumption is hard to calculate since it depends not just on the power of the engine but also on the load and of course the weather and sea state. An excellent site – which you would have to read several times to follow is the Frontier Power Products Site, which has an excellent exposition on how to estimate fuel consumption.
What is interesting is that fuel consumption could be fairly flat for reasonably large ranges of rpm. or even have 2 or more bumps in the curve – it was not a simple case of more speed = more fuel…well good luck all you power boaters…rather you than me when it comes to filling up – on the other hand when it comes to mooring in the marina and sipping champagne – well – yes I would love to come aboard 🙂
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