News

What's New on the Chesapeake Bay

By
Alexa
Zizzi

BAY HEALTH UPDATES & PROGRESS

Chesapeake oyster lovers have a reason to cheer this summer as the region’s oyster population reached its highest level in 35 years. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) recently chose 10 sites for large-scale oyster reef restoration in Maryland and Virginia, aiming to improve tributaries by 2025.

Even though the male blue crab population was down last year, causing prices to go up, the female crab population increased. According to the 2021 Bay Barometer, “Between 2020 and 2021, the abundance of adult female blue crabs in the Bay increased from 141 million to 158 million,” reports CBF. This jump gives a boost to the Bay’s wildlife habitats.

To celebrate the success of reef restoration initiatives and the return of a healthy wildlife population, CBF will host the Maryland Rod & Reef Slam in October. This unique fishing tournament awards the biggest catch like traditional tournaments, but also focuses on finding as many species as you can. Prizes go to anglers with the most different species first, then for how long the fish measure.

A BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD FOR THE BAY

To have a healthy aquaculture requires maintaining a pollution-free ecosystem. CBF pioneers marine cleanup partnerships between state and local governments and conservation groups and is crucial to implementing clean water coalitions.

This past winter, the Congress signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) containing a $238 million dollar-increase over five years for CBF. 

Funding was also granted through the EPA for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which will contribute to upgrading sewage treatment facilities to reduce the Bay’s polluted runoff. For more info or to get involved, visit cbf.org

MARITIME MUSEUM HOSTS SUMMER HAPPENINGS

Cruise to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) this season to experience fun in historic St. Michaels, MD. Events include an Independence Day celebration of fireworks and entertainment with Big Band Night in July and Watermen’s Appreciation Day on August 14 featuring live music and a “watermen’s rodeo” you don’t want to miss.

CBMM’S WORKSHOPS & EVENTS

  • “Apprentice for a Day” shipyard programs
  • Mixed-level yoga classes 
  • Artist workshops
  • Boater safety courses
  • Kayak paddle programs
  • Log canoe cruises
  • Community ecology cruises

LIVING CLASSROOMS HOSTS 34TH ANNUAL MARITIME MAGIC

This nonprofit offers interactive educational classes — or as they call it “learning by doing” — to local students of diverse backgrounds and economic means. With two locations serving both the Baltimore and Washington, DC, areas, the organization hosts seasonal maritime youth programs that benefit communities.

On September 30, Living Classrooms in Baltimore will celebrate its 34th Maritime Magic event with food, drinks, live music and seafaring history at the Frederick
Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park. Located directly between Harbor East and Fells Point, this site is the former location of the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company, the first African American-owned shipyard in the country.  

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About Marinalife: 

Founded by lifelong boaters, Marinalife delivers tools and resources that encourage the boating community to embrace life on the water. Marinalife joined with Snag-A-Slip in 2017 to create tech-enabled solutions that allow boaters and marinas to connect and transact easily. Headquartered in Baltimore, MD, our crew is passionate about boating and delivering exceptional service to our customers. 

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The Price of Fun
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World events over the last two years have created a record high interest in recreational boating, but unfortunately they also generated record high fuel prices. To help you understand exactly how various boats burn fuel differently and how to run your boat at its most efficient, we’re turning to Steve Zimmerman, founder of Zimmerman Marine, a highly respected boat yard and boat builder with six locations in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

Steve is knowledgeable in all aspects of boat maintenance and design that effect fuel consumption. I had the opportunity to ask Steve recently to dispel some commonly held misconceptions about fuel use in popular styles of recreational boats.

BOB:

When boaters talk about fuel consumption, they mostly speak in terms of gallons per hour, not miles per gallon. What’s the difference?


STEVE:

Many boaters focus on gallons per hour (GPH); however, in determining how much fuel you use to cover a distance on your boat, we have to bring speed into the equation. For example, if someone asked which is more efficient, a boat burning 11 GPH or a boat burning 22 GPH? The answer is it’s impossible to say without calculating miles per gallon (MPG).

If the boat burning 11 GPH is traveling at 10 knots (nautical miles per hour), we divide 11 GPH by 10 knots to see it is getting 0.9 nautical miles per gallon (nMPG). If the boat burning 22 GPH is traveling at 22 knots, 22 divided by 22 equals 1.0 nMPG. So, in this example, we see that although the difference is minor, the boat burning double the gallons per hour achieves better mileage.

BOB:

If people are considering a new boat, are some designs more fuel efficient than others?


STEVE:

All boat hulls require a certain amount of energy to move through water. The more easily they move through the water, the less energy is required. The primary factors that influence how easily the hull can be moved include hull shape, length, total weight and drag. Hull shapes are sorted into three basic categories: full displacement, semi-displacement and planing. To determine which offers the best fuel economy, we introduce the most important variable of all: speed.


BOB:

So, the faster a boat goes, the more fuel it burns?

STEVE:

Usually that’s true, but not always. Different hull forms respond differently to the demand for speed.

As speed increases, boats move through the water in three basic ways. At slow speeds the boat sits fully in the water, riding between a wave at the bow and a wave at the stern. Full displacement boats live in this zone. As soon as speed increases, fuel burn rises sharply. Semi-displacement and planing hulls can apply more horsepower and begin to climb up onto the bow wave. In this phase the bow rides awkwardly high, and fuel economy plummets. By applying even more power, these hulls ride more on top of the water. The bow comes down, speed increases, and fuel burn levels off. All get better fuel economy at the slower speeds, but the penalty for higher speeds varies substantially between hull types.

STEVE:

For all cruising powerboats, when it comes to fuel economy, speed trumps all other factors—but only at slow speeds. At full-displacement speeds going a knot or two slower can double or triple your fuel economy. Among the things that influence fuel economy on planing hulls are the condition and cleanliness of the props and rudders, alignment of shafts, health of bearings and a fouled bottom. Once you are on plane, increases in speed matter far less, but the importance of a clean underbody and running gear matters far more. Don’t be misled by GPH, taking the extra step to calculate MPG, which ultimately determines overall fuel use.

HOW DO DIFFERENT HULL TYPES VARY IN FUEL USE?

The most common hull forms used in recreational boats are:

FULL DISPLACEMENT
Let’s look at some actual numbers from a full-displacement trawler in the 40- to 50-foot range. At a speed of 7.5 knots, if it’s using 3 GPH, that equals 2.5 nMPG? If we push for a little more speed, the fuel burn changes, at 9 knots, burning 11 GPH, it’s down to 0.8 nMPG. Notice that by going just 1.5 knots slower, it’s using 300% less fuel.


SEMI-DISPLACEMENT
Now let’s look at a semi-displacement boat of similar size. If this boat is going 8.5 knots and using 3.4 GPH, it’s getting 2.2 nMPG. If we increase to 10.5 knots, using 14.2 GPH, we’re down to 0.74 nMPG. Once again, going just 2 knots slower increases fuel economy 300%. If we push this boat into higher speeds though, the fuel burn differs significantly. At 15 knots, fuel use goes up dramatically to 23.5 GPH, and our efficiency is down to 0.64 nMPG. At 20 knots, using 35.0 GPH, we’re down to 0.57 nMPG. When more of the boat’s hull is on top of the water, the penalty for increases in speed diminishes dramatically and economy levels off. As speed increases, fuel economy
will gradually decline in small increments.


PLANING
Finally, let’s look at a boat designed for speed, a lightweight planing hull. When going slowly at 7.5 knots, burning 2.6 GPH, that equals 2.9 nMPG. When we increase to 11.0 knots, burning 9.2 GPH, that lowers the fuel rate to 1.2 nMPG. At a top speed of 25.0 knots, burning 27.5 GPH, that gives only a small decrease in fuel burn to 0.9 nMPG.

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