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Old 07-12-2014, 17:15   #1
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Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

Howdy Folks!

I have been curious about using the ICW to travel from Key West Forida to Portland Maine (or the opposite direction). I assume that the entire trip would be done motoring using a fuel efficient Diesel engine that averages ONE gallon per hour for 6 knot hull speed on a 30-40 foot boat.

I wondered how long it would take to motor, how far that is, and what could be the fuel cost.

I did some calculations after a little research.

Cost of trawler power boat or sailboat motor cruising the ICW from Key West to Maine

Distances are from tables made by NOAA.

http://www.nauticalcharts.noaa.gov/n.../distances.pdf

Portland Maine to Miami 1,646 miles using ICW and canals and Long Island Sound.

Miami to Key West Florida = 151 miles

Portland Maine to Key West Florida = 1797 miles or about 1,800 miles

Diesel cost $4 per gallon on average at Florida marinas (December 2014)

Assume trawler or sailboat motoring at 6 knots per hour for 8 hours per day for daily average of 48 miles distance each day.

Assume fuel consumed at ONE gallon per hour.

1800/6 = 300 gallons x 4 = $1,200

1800 / 48 = about 37.5 days

TOTAL fuel cost and days = $1,200 and 37.5 days.

Your mileage may vary.
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Please add your input to this discussion.

I am aware this does not account for meals and other expenses along the way (e.g. marina stays, other fees).

I also know boats may "sip" fuel and so get better mileage, while others may "gulp" fuel and use much more fuel per hour (and possibly go much faster per hour).

I encourage you to do the same calculations using YOUR boat and then post your answers below in this discussion, noting your engine type, boat type, and GPH and your typical cruising speed for this scenario.

Put another way, how would YOU calculate YOUR BOAT'S cost to run the same distance (1,800 miles) using diesel fuel costing ($4/Gallon).

Please keep your calculations to the same distance (1,800 miles) and the same cost of fuel ($4/gallon).
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Old 07-12-2014, 17:23   #2
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

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Old 07-12-2014, 17:38   #3
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

It wouldn't be much fun to run eight hours per day for 37 days. And you can't count on 48 miles per day because you will spend time waiting for bridges and dealing with traffic. Also, in a slow boat, current makes a pretty big difference in your speed over ground.

If you know you fuel burn and your speed at that fuel burn you can approximate your fuel cost but I don't think you should count on 48 miles per day unless it's a delivery not a cruise.

PS: Reading your profile, it seems you aren't in Maine and don't have a boat so none of this really matters, does it?
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Old 07-12-2014, 17:48   #4
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

I think it would end up being like a boat project cost estimate.

The minimum (absolute minimum) would be double the estimate.

That kinda stuff is the way it has generally been for me anyway. And my boat had sails and only burned 3/4 gal/hr at 6 knots.
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Old 07-12-2014, 18:29   #5
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

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Originally Posted by rwidman View Post
It wouldn't be much fun to run eight hours per day for 37 days. And you can't count on 48 miles per day because you will spend time waiting for bridges and dealing with traffic. Also, in a slow boat, current makes a pretty big difference in your speed over ground.

If you know you fuel burn and your speed at that fuel burn you can approximate your fuel cost but I don't think you should count on 48 miles per day unless it's a delivery not a cruise.

PS: Reading your profile, it seems you aren't in Maine and don't have a boat so none of this really matters, does it?
Hello.

I agree with you that a trip that goes without stopping to enjoy the sights along the way may not be the most fun. And delays due to bridge openings or traffic (or getting stuck in the mud) will add time to a voyage. Or if one has crew willing to start early and end late your daily mileage may be very different (or due to speed of travel).

My purpose for posting this topic is to see what others think might be their estimated costs in fuel and time for the same trip using their boat. If people post additional estimates of time and fuel estimates, based on their experience and their type of boat, it may help others here who find the information interesting or informative.

For example, someone pushing a big displacement hull boat at 12 knots average cruising may consume much more fuel for the same run. How much for what kind of boat and engine?

Or, I might buy a boat in the future that is up north and I want it moved down south, and I would like an idea of how much fuel and time to allow for the delivery.

In a recent discussion elsewhere on this forum, it was mentioned that fuel costs will be a deciding factor for some when considering the type of boat they buy for cruising the East coast. And, some folks don't know the accurate distance on the ICW from Maine to Key West.

Regarding my profile?
I am not in Maine. And I don't own a boat (yet). But does that matter to the topic of discussion? I think not. While this topic posed by someone without a boat who is not from Maine may not matter to you, it may be interesting or helpful to others. For example, it matters to me.

I am open to learning from anyone with good input, even if they don't own the kind of boat I want or have.
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Old 07-12-2014, 18:32   #6
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

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Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
I think it would end up being like a boat project cost estimate.

The minimum (absolute minimum) would be double the estimate.

That kinda stuff is the way it has generally been for me anyway. And my boat had sails and only burned 3/4 gal/hr at 6 knots.


I suppose ALL estimates related to boats should have that "fudge factor" considered.

I know from experience that even experienced sailors (boaters) can make an estimate and then Neptune will have his own ideas of what time it should take and what fun it should be (or challenge it should be).
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Old 07-12-2014, 19:55   #7
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post


I suppose ALL estimates related to boats should have that "fudge factor" considered.

I know from experience that even experienced sailors (boaters) can make an estimate and then Neptune will have his own ideas of what time it should take and what fun it should be (or challenge it should be).
If you really, really understand that then you are half way there. No fuel required.

Best of luck.
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Old 07-12-2014, 20:24   #8
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

Yanmar 3gm30f. About .4 gal/hr @ 5.5 knts. So call it 11nm/hr.

About 165 gallons of diesel. And roughly $650

Time wise, I would take around 90 days if not more. Took me two months to go from St. Pete to Panama City a couple of years ago... :-)


Also. I'd most likely sail a bit of that, too. Just sayin.
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Old 07-12-2014, 21:46   #9
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post

My purpose for posting this topic is to see what others think might be their estimated costs in fuel and time for the same trip using their boat. If people post additional estimates of time and fuel estimates, based on their experience and their type of boat, it may help others here who find the information interesting or informative.
Where's Scoobert when we need him? :whistl ing:
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Old 07-12-2014, 21:51   #10
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

I think that sounds pretty accurate if all you are talking about is driving the boat for 8 hours. We usually do 5 knots at .75 gallons per hour.

Yes there are bridges and whatnot but if you plan your trip correctly you can get a lot more than 5 knots at .75 gph because of tides and currents. Last year we left Deale Dec 6th and got to St. Aug Jan.5th but with at least 1 week of stops. So probably 3 three weeks. I'm not even sure it cost us 1/2 of the sum you mention to get here.
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Old 07-12-2014, 23:01   #11
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Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

I have a 2003 Hunter 356 with a yanmar 3GM30F and a Northern Lights 5 kW generator that we bought new in 2003. We went on a cruise last year from Kentucky Lake, down the Tenn-Tom to Mobile, North Gulf ICW to Pensacola Bay, then outside with stops in Destin and Panama City. From Panama City across to Clearwater then down GICW to Charlotte Harbor and Punta Gorda. Made several side trips to Cabbage Key and one trip to Indian Key. Made the return trip in the spring but went direct Clearwater to Pensacola then GICW. Our total trip was 2513.91 NM and 2892.95 SM.

We keep the generator running when away from the dock and keep HVAC going for heating and cooling. We spent more time at Marinas than anchored out. We used a total of 391.8 gallons of diesel. I estimate my generator was using around .3 gallons per hour and it ran for 634.4 hours. The Yanmar ran for 434.1 hours. We averaged 5.79 knots. I had the boat heavily loaded with supplies and clothes and we were running higher fuel consumption than our previous averages. I didn't know until I got back to Turner Marine in the spring that my MaxProp was badly worn and resulted in my prop being over pitched. I usually burn .65 gallons per hour with both engines and get 6.2 knots at 75% rpm which is 2,750. I was more like 85% rpm until I was down to the last 650 miles. My Yanmar usually gets .4 GPH, but was higher due to loaded boat and the prop problem. I motorsailed 36 hours across the Gulf going down and 50 hours returning on a different route. My wife didn't like open water, so I was going for least time and had I been sailing only, would have used somewhat less fuel.

If I were planning your trip, I would use .5 GPH for your 3GM30F and a cruise speed of 5.5 knots. 1800 miles/ 5.5 knots = 327 hours. That would be around 164 gallons of fuel. You will average 8 to 10 hours a day with destinations based on Marina locations and or anchorages dictating where you stop.

Fuel was not a large percentage of our costs.

Hope this helps some.


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Old 08-12-2014, 07:49   #12
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

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Yanmar 3gm30f. About .4 gal/hr @ 5.5 knts. So call it 11nm/hr.

About 165 gallons of diesel. And roughly $650

Time wise, I would take around 90 days if not more. Took me two months to go from St. Pete to Panama City a couple of years ago... :-)


Also. I'd most likely sail a bit of that, too. Just sayin.
Thanks for posting the additional figures or estimates.

Like you, I would prefer to take a longer (slower) trip, so I could stop and enjoy the sights and do some exploring. I would rather "cruise" than "deliver" if circumstances (work, time off, etc.) allow.
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Old 08-12-2014, 07:52   #13
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I think that sounds pretty accurate if all you are talking about is driving the boat for 8 hours. We usually do 5 knots at .75 gallons per hour.

Yes there are bridges and whatnot but if you plan your trip correctly you can get a lot more than 5 knots at .75 gph because of tides and currents. Last year we left Deale Dec 6th and got to St. Aug Jan.5th but with at least 1 week of stops. So probably 3 three weeks. I'm not even sure it cost us 1/2 of the sum you mention to get here.
Good to know. Thanks for adding some time and fuel figures to the discussion. What kind of boat and engine?
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:03   #14
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

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Originally Posted by J Clark H356 View Post
…….(CLIP) Our total trip was 2513.91 NM and 2892.95 SM.

We keep the generator running when away from the dock and keep HVAC going for heating and cooling. We spent more time at Marinas than anchored out. We used a total of 391.8 gallons of diesel. I estimate my generator was using around .3 gallons per hour and it ran for 634.4 hours. The Yanmar ran for 434.1 hours. We averaged 5.79 knots. ……..(CLIP)

I usually burn .65 gallons per hour with both engines and get 6.2 knots at 75% rpm which is 2,750. I was more like 85% rpm until I was down to the last 650 miles. My Yanmar usually gets .4 GPH, but was higher due to loaded boat and the prop problem. I motorsailed 36 hours across the Gulf going down and 50 hours returning on a different route. My wife didn't like open water, so I was going for least time and had I been sailing only, would have used somewhat less fuel.

If I were planning your trip, I would use .5 GPH for your 3GM30F and a cruise speed of 5.5 knots. 1800 miles/ 5.5 knots = 327 hours. That would be around 164 gallons of fuel. You will average 8 to 10 hours a day with destinations based on Marina locations and or anchorages dictating where you stop.

Fuel was not a large percentage of our costs.

Hope this helps some.
Thank you for posting the details on fuel usage and the time and other info regarding prop pitch etc. Even the point of how one member of the crew did not the open water crossing is helpful to understanding how one picks a route.

I do find that kind of detailed account with real numbers helpful and I think others will too. Contributions of on point responses and content like that is what makes this forum a good place to visit.
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Old 08-12-2014, 08:47   #15
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Re: Time & Fuel Cost for ICW Cruise Maine to Key West

My wife and I made a run from CT to Fort Pierce, around 1300 nm. On a 37 Irwin Ketch. We did that run 25 years ago so fuel cost is irrelevent at this time but we motorsailed and burned about 100 gal at 0.5 GPH. We also spent a large portion of our time offshore and it took us 21 days portal to portal. I have no idea why anyone would want to do the "ditch"! It certainly is not for the scenery and you have to enjoy spending a lot of time stuck in the mud. If your boat is up to it, take my advice and try it offshore, you can do a relatively close distance offshore and plan for inlets so you can get in to anchor at night if you don't like sailing around the clock. We sailed much of the time about 50 miles off, but we did "ditch it" off and on, where we wanted to see a particular area.
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