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Finding the best fuel prices

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by BwkLndgMarina, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. BwkLndgMarina

    BwkLndgMarina New Member

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    Brunswick, GA
    When you are traveling up and down the coast(s), what have you found to be the best method for determining where to buy the cheapest fuel?
  2. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Depends on location. Waterway Guide, Cruisers Net, and Marinalife all may be helpful but none are complete resources. If you're looking for the cheapest fuel it will often be at commercial docks and fuel delivery will almost always be the cheapest. Active Captain was once a resource but has moved away from fuel information. However, it's a good resource for marinas and phone numbers and then you just call.

    Many are also very negotiable if your volume justifies it.
  3. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I do a ton of deliveries and I don't even bother searching for the cheapest fuel. On a delivery, I am looking for what inlet matches my maximum amount of range each day (with a safety margin of course). And, quite honestly I look at a one stop shop. I want easy fueling, easy docking (in and out, close to the inlet) and relatively nice docks, a restaurant, good staff that answers the phone (and VHF) and can tell me if a slip is available in a minute on the phone, and depending on the boat possibly good shower facilities (although most yachts I run this isn't a consideration) and a nice ships store stocked with the basic essentials like fuel filters, oil, and other consumables you might need during a delivery. Time and convenience are my biggest factors on a delivery.

    Fuel price is the driving factor for some, but I'd guess that's 10% of the yachters maybe 20% at most.
  4. BwkLndgMarina

    BwkLndgMarina New Member

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    Thanks for the informative answer!

    What resources do you typically use to locate and research the marinas stop at?
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Waterway guide cruising guide. I like the way it lists what I need: Largest vessel accommodated, number of slips, shorepower, fuel, draft on a nice chart for each area and it shows all of the marinas on a chart. But I do most from memory, as I've been doing this for many years. If my first choice is full, then I start going down the list making phone calls based upon my criteria.
  6. BwkLndgMarina

    BwkLndgMarina New Member

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    Interesting... We advertised our marina in that publication for 10+ years until recently. I quit advertising with them because I figured it wasn't real practical for people to purchase these heavy cumbersome books to tote around on a boat with them. Maybe I should revisit that.
  7. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I still buy them, but carry them less, but on some deliveries still carry them such as on slower boats when doing the ICW and trying to make the most distance each day, but not knowing where you will make until the day progresses. But waterway guide's online website shows the marina's as well on their website and can find marina's there, just you have to click on each one and look at them individually. I find the chart in the book easier and also easier to see how far the next town is with marinas.
  8. motoryachtlover

    motoryachtlover Senior Member

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    I buy a Waterway guide probably once every 3 years. So I still use them.
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    In the last few years we ve only been traveling back and forth to the Exumas. Before that when I do trips up n down the coast i would use Active Captain to find marinas and call the day before to check fuel prices.

    I ve seen price differences of up to 60 c a gallon...that s $600 on a 1000 gal fill up.
  10. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    I would up that percentage to 50% or more of us yachters...Capt J I totally understand your point, and you get the owners credit card to make your delivery run, not your own$$, you are a pro and time is not on your side. But I think I can speak for some of us who are running and filling our own boat with fuel that we look around for sure.
    I use the Waterway Guide as you said to search marinas/services and the cell phone or VHF and call around to get the best accurate price.
    Also what Olderboater said, if your tanks are big..Keep an eye out on where the Shrimp Boats are fueling up, usually at the commercial dock. You can get fuel there too generally at a good price.
  11. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I agree that price is important to some, but you're in the minority of the boats that cruise North and South. At least with the yachts really burning fuel, and mostly doing the ocean every day. Time is the most important thing and the last thing the owner wants to hear is that you're a day late because you wasted half a day to fuel up at a cheaper place to save $300 when the daily rate of the crew is more than that. If the cheaper place is right there, that is one thing, but I've heard of some crazy stuff. If you're an owner/operator and taking 30+ days to go North or South and just bouncing around with no set schedule, then yeah it's easy to buy on price. But when doing a delivery, you basically have the option of buying where you buy from. Here in Fort Lauderdale I get fuel from a truck (cheapest), anytime that I can. But when I'm doing a delivery in the quickest and most economical fashion (from a time and distance standpoint), I'm very lucky that the fuel dock is still open when I get there and if you're staying in the same marina they'll also be able to point out where your slip is, instead of having to figure that out because the marina is closed and you fueled elsewhere.

    An owner operator of a 65'-70' ish Nordhavn was at the marina in Jekyll Island next to me about a year ago and told me he was going to go to a commercial dock in Fernandina Beach, then asked me and the dockmaster if he could go out the inlet to the South because the markers were missing. I and the dockmaster told him that the USCG removed all of the markers because the inlet is shoaled over and un-navigable. His answer was, well I'm going to go out of it anyways, the channel is shown on my chartplotter. Then when you do the math of the 16 NM run in and out of Fernandina Beach (which is only 25-30NM South) and all of the time wasted, he was going to burn a hell of a lot more fuel than the price he was saving on the fuel he was buying at $0.30 a gallon cheaper. You also couldn't tell him that the ICW to Fernandina Beach was a lot shorter than going outside.

    A case in point, I brought back a 62' Princess from the Panama Canal, we stopped in Key West and stayed at A+B, they didn't have fuel when they normally do, but offered fuel for $0.30 a gallon cheaper at their marina in stock island versus what Conch Harbor was selling it for (Conch Harbor gave us $0.10 off a gallon anyways, so the difference was $0.20). I needed about 500 gallons, when doing the math, I didn't save anything by deviating 8 NM roundtrip out of my way at cruise burning 3.75 GPNM if I went to Stock Island and just wasted a bunch of time in doing so. Plus the owner wanted the boat to FLL as fast as possible and it was costing him $30k a day between us, the interest on the loan, and it was the trade in on his new boat and everyone was waiting for the proceeds including the builder of the new boat as they were his down payment, so as soon as it got there the interest on the loan on this boat stopped, and I had explicit orders from him that he didn't care what we burned in fuel and to get it to Fort Lauderdale (from Panama) as fast as possible.

    Another case in point is I delivered a 60' trawler to NY from FL, it had enough fuel to run 7 days at cruise speed in the ICW, BUT would only take fuel from a small gas sized nozzle. Well 5 days into the tank, I started calling every marina along the way to see if they had a gas sized diesel nozzle (sailboat size), it took a huge amount of time and took away from my concentration of running the yacht. It would be similar checking on fuel prices.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  12. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    **** Capt J , you can type fast !! Lol
    Yes, I totally here you.
    And going far out of your way just to get a cheap price is not always the best move ...
    I’m proud to say I’m a low budget Yachter !! I have to be. You can save a lot of money on fuel with just a little bit of homework , when it’s your boat and $$.
  13. alvareza

    alvareza New Member

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    Is it worth paying more for Valvtect? How much more?
  14. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    We make deliveries AND run our own diesel monster.
    We have also learned the cheap fuel is not a bargain.
    Reliable help on the dock, in & out is a part of that fuel price.
    That bargain fuel also put many gallons of water in our tanks not once, but twice from the same newer pumps in Jacksonville.

    Like the convenience store near your hood, Some pumps at the dock cost more. The better dock crews that help, the store, and other conveniences well make up for the fuel cost per gallon, IMO.
    Ft Peirce City dock is a perfect example. They recognize my call no matter what I'm pushing and treat us like royals.
  15. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Don't think many docks on the east coast don't push the ValveTec fuels.
    I have never had an issue with a ValveTec pump.
    That dock I mentioned that sold me water (above) went to selling it but I never went back.
    Not worth a lil out of the way any more for a bargain that bit me when on the straight line and a helpfull fuel dock will sell the same within pennies/gal.
    Oh yes, our Bert takes on around 1000+ gallons per fill for extended trips.
    The other Hat I run has a cockpit extension with more tanks. Then it's near 1800+ gallons when filling for extended trips.
    The owner feels the same as I on the pumps we draw from.
    After a while, on the better docks, you start remembering the names. I had to when they remembered my name and voice over the radio.
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  16. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Aww Turkey Wings ! That’s not true up here.
    The two big time marinas here in Annapolis Harbour are always battling it out on who has the best fuel price ... and they post it at their dock nice and big where you can see it from hundreds of yards away .
    It’s generally the best on the upper Chesapeake bay, one of the two .
    And they have the experienced dock crew with fancy embroidered shirts with the marinas name on it and the khaki shorts and the new Sperry shoes on ...to help you out.
    I’m still for shopping around for fuel , it’s always been good to me. Never a bad load of fuel you can kind of tell if they pump a lot of fuel or not ..
    Cape May is another prime example where you can shop three marinas within a quarter-mile of each other .
    My marina is the more rustic one of the three and always has the best fuel prices and pumps a lot of fuel . And has fine dock help.
    But it is limited to a 70’ boat.
  17. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    This is all good for your hood. Sadly, it's not like that along the ditch and inlets towards the bottom.
    Like Skippy J mentioned a bit back, Convenience and supply.
    Like my ole song, get in, get out, don't fuss about, Yo Ho..
  18. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    Believe me, I'd be a delivery Diemond , with the owner's credit card and boat...Lol , filler up ! And make it fast! Lol. Sorry, I don't know that old song of yours...lol.

    But , it's been a while for me and running the ditch , but the "cheap" fuel stops use to be , Annapolis, Coinjock , maybe Wrightsville Beach , Swansboro, McClellanville, and yup, Fernandina ...not sure if that still stands true. Anyway it's a differnt story if you are delivering a boat , with no time to loose.
    No doubt.
  19. cleanslate

    cleanslate Senior Member

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    I run fresh clean gas in my gas boat , and same with my diesel boat. I never used Valvtect...I'm to cheap , plus I think it a gimmick. My gas inboard runs just fine on 87 octain from fuel station on the road or at the busy marine fuel dock. Keep your fuel and engine clean , do the scheduled maintenance and all is good . No need for snake oil fuel IMO.
  20. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    Sent you the words. Ab, x rated.

    Josie and I used to run deliveries day and night on the Florida & Georgia east coast.
    When I was working, we made more money on the docks so only delivered for Certain shops and customers.
    We ran 24 x 7 till the ship was tied up & delivered. Josie's wash crew or sub would be waiting to wash the boat on our arrival. If all worked and ran well, we could save the owner layover expenses and a day + of rate.
    And I could get back to the docks quicker.

    In & Out insured we had fuel for the night and at times were Bingo waiting for the pumps to open come sunrise.
    Again fuel cost was not a priority, the dock crew and good tips ensured they would be there early the next time we called.
    Pushing our own boat, we usually do not push schedules to much, but the same people come out with helping arms and big smiles.

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