Two years ago the Lovely Louise and I bought a boat. Its not a real boat; its one of those pontoon things. After decades of real boating I feel kind of silly in the thing.
I wanted a fishing boat and Louise wanted a boat that she and her girlfriends could use to wander up and down the canals in Cape Coral while enjoying a glass of wine. Comfort was a major factor for her. Enter the twenty foot pontoon boat. It had couches, fishing chairs and a live well. It was a compromise for both of us but we believed it could work.
The boat came with a 12-gallon gas tank, which isn’t very big. We asked the dealer for options but there really weren't any. Not a problem, I thought; I’ll just find a bigger tank to fit the space. With my 12-gallon tank I could go from my dock to the tip of Sanibel Island, but then I had to turn around and come back or I’d run out of gas. My solution was to bring a 14-gallon tank with me and add gas when I needed it. This was not fun. I had to lift the 14-gallon tank onto the top of the live well and balance it with one hand while pumping gas with the other. I was an environmental hazard waiting to happen.
And so the hunt for a bigger tank was on. For a year and a half I searched everywhere on Google and Amazon, but no luck. Because of the odd design of the space, the largest tank I could find was only 16 gallons, not a major increase. I knew there had to be a better way.
Eureka! I found a guy in Cape Coral who fabricates custom gas tanks. A quick call and he came over to measure the space. He assured me he could make a gas tank that would fit and give me a lot more capacity. After weeks of waiting and double-checking the measurement, my new gas tank arrived this week. It fit so tightly it was a challenge to get it in, but get it in they did. When they finished, they announced that my new tank would hold 27.3 gallons. It even has a gas gauge that actually works.
If I want to go crazy I can still bring my 14-gallon tank with me and carry a total of over 40 gallons of gas. I can go to Cuba! Now if Louise wants to go to Fort Myers Beach for lunch I can do that and stop for some fishing on the way back. I can head to North Captiva Island and spend the day looking for sea shells on a deserted beach. No longer am I obsessed with whether I can make it back home without knowing where all the gas docks are. Besides, I can fill it up at home with gas from Sam’s Club, which is almost $1.50 cheaper than the gas dock. That’s a savings of about $40.00 per fill-up.
Now when I’m headed out I can drive past the Boat USA tow boat and thumb my nose at him because he’s not going to be towing me home anymore. At least not because I ran out of gas.