Thursday, March 25, 2010

Delivery Diesel

It's hard to believe that we've always passed by Miami Beach. Especially the anchorages off the Venetian Causeway. This is an exceptional area. You can get anything you want here within just a few blocks - multiple Publix grocery stores, every type of restaurant imaginable, hardware, Post Office, 18-theatre complex, an Apple store, Office Depot, etc. The dog food we use is a speciality brand that we have to order on the Internet for delivery. But here there's a store 6 blocks from the dinghy dock that stocks it. Together with the dog park at 5 pm, we didn't think it could get any better.  Then we met Leon.

Peterson Fuel has always updated their diesel prices in ActiveCaptain. We like that. It's good for them and it's good for our captains. Peterson has 2 barges - one in Miami and one in Ft. Lauderdale. In our 8 transits through both areas we'd seen the barges before. Boats would pull up and get fuel - seems like a nice business. Here's what I didn't know - if you need 250 gallons or more, they'll come to you. Delivery Diesel!

The delivery area includes, you guessed it, the area we like to anchor in for Miami Beach. So I called Peterson and arranged for a fuel fill up right on the hook. Honestly, how cool is that?

They called me this morning and told me which half hour they'd arrive. Right around the scheduled time we saw the yellow barge coming down the Venetian Causeway access on Biscayne Bay.

We met Captain Leon who eased the barge against aCappella, tied up to us, and set the spuds to lock us both in position. Leon is a true pro - a licensed captain with a tanker endorsement. He's on the barge 6 days a week doing this type of diesel delivery.

Leon handed over the nozzle and hose (extremely clean) and worked with us to adjust the flow. The pumps onboard the barge are high speed - 140 gallons per minute - that he can adjust to any rate needed. We prefer between 20 and 40 gallons per minute.

We completely filled our rear 2 tanks and topped off the front 2 ones - about 490 gallons total. It was simple and I really enjoyed monitoring the fuel sites in a nice, cool engine room.

After filling up and putting all the hoses and equipment back on the barge, Leon invited us onboard to tour the barge. Because it's a licensed fuel barge, we had to provide picture ID's and sign into the ship's log. Leon showed us around the well-kept machinery. The barge holds 10,300 gallons of diesel and they often pump it dry on a busy day.

In the blink of an eye, the lines were untied, spuds lifted, and we were waving goodbye to Leon as he set off for the ICW and more boaters looking for fuel.

This is the first time we've gotten fuel away from a marina. It's a nice option. Peterson has an excellent fuel price. We considered getting fuel in Marathon but ended up saving about $250 on almost 500 gallons. There is a $0.10/gallon discount for cash/checks too.

Leon told us that although there's a 250 gallon minimum for delivery, he'll often go into an area where a few boats all need fuel and their combined total will be over 250 gallons.

Peterson keeps their fuel price very up-to-date in ActiveCaptain. I'm glad we noticed it and checked it out.

So there are services that will deliver food to your boat, pump out boats that will remove your waste, and now fuel barges that deliver fuel right to your anchored boat. Find me a delivery dog walking service and we'll never have to leave the boat!


Sheila and Bill Corbett said...

Hello ACapella,

Sounds like a great way to buy fuel. What was the per gallon price for the diesel?

Is there a beer barge in the area?

MV Red Head said...

The price was $2.80. You know, there's a pretty good web site that gives fuel pricing information out there... ;-)

Beer barge! Now there's an opportunity. First you send in the pretzel dinghy...

Jeff Harris said...

I notice in your pictures that you are using a wireless set of headsets. Pleased with performance? Brand?

MV Red Head said...

We use those cheap toy headsets. They originally cost $19.95 but now are up around $70. They're called the Mariner-500 - search that and you'll find it.

We love them and rely on them. We have 2 sets because we're so afraid that we'll lose them. Every docking/undocking/anchor/mooring and fuel situation - they're what we use. There is occasional static and interference but we find that happens very rarely.

There are other more expensive ways to do it but we're pretty happy with these - we've had them for 6+ years.