KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE, AUG. 22 -- With a little encouragement from the press today, President Bush issued a call for energy conservation during the Persian Gulf crisis -- but not to the point of giving up gas-guzzling recreational activities, such as high-speed motor boating.

"I'm going to keep using my boat," Bush insisted. His presidential cigarette boat, "Fidelity," consumes an estimated 25 gallons of fuel an hour, according to boating experts here.

Bush speeds around the ocean on his boat at least once a day while on vacation at his Kennebunkport home.

"I hope the rest of America will prudently recreate," Bush added. "I don't think we've reached the point where I want to call on everybody in the recreation industry to shut it down or everybody that's taking a vacation in America to shut it down.

"I would not suggest that the situation at home requires they stay at home now or that they don't use their recreational facilities," he added.

Bush's call to conserve fell far short of Jimmy Carter's "moral equivalent of war." In fact, it was instigated by a reporter, who reminded Bush of his recent assertion that "our way of life" is at stake in the Middle East.

"We haven't really heard you call upon Americans to conserve as part of this crisis ..." the reporter said.

Responded Bush: "I call upon Americans to conserve."

Reporter: "Do you want to elaborate?"

Bush: "No, I think we ought to conserve in times like this. On the other hand, we're doing everything we can to guarantee that we don't panic Americans and that there will be an adequate supply of hydrocarbons. But I think it is a good time to conserve... ."