As a boat owner I feel that there is a huge responsibility to keep my watercraft up and running as well as in a safe operating condition. This should be the concern of every boat owner, however too often I see people let the small items go to the wayside.
Have you ever pulled up to a busy ramp only to find someone is blocking the ramp because they either have a dead battery or they are still trying to get their motor started? Unfortunately I have been in too many lines where this has occurred in front of me.
There really is no excuse for not being prepared and for not having an operational boat and motor. These are simple items that can be done at home and not saved for the minute’s right before you decide to launch your boat.
Some items are unavoidable and mishaps do occur, but all too often what is seen at the ramp and on the water could have been avoided by taking some time off the water to make sure you are ready for the season. It doesn’t take too much time to make sure you can avoid an issue as preventing this can be very important.
We are all not boat mechanics and especially with today’s motors it can be difficult to work on some of the components. However with a few tools, a good internet search and the willingness to do it anyone can work on their boats to keep them ready for the water.
When was the last time you checked the level of water on your batteries? If so then you should go to the next level and using a hydrometer on the battery and test the cells. There is nothing worse than thinking that you have a good battery only to find out that you have a bad cell that is preventing you from getting the most cranking power out of your battery.
After a long winter of sitting around things tend to pop up on us that you might not think to look at. Items such as burst hoses or through hull fittings. On the water is certainly not the place and time to find out that you have one of these issues. Then when you do find that you have leak and your bilge pump doesn’t work you are not up a proverbial creek with a sinking boat.
Just about every item that I have seen go wrong at the ramps or on the water could have easily been avoided with some preventative maintenance. As was said earlier it is quite easy to take care of these items yourself, however if you don’t have the time or the aptitude then that is the time to get the boat into a reputable dealer so they can do the work for you.
I spoke a local marine dealer about these issues and they confirmed my suspicions of how many people either don’t take care of their boats or wait to the last minute to get anything done. These dealers have their crews working 7 days a week since the weather broke in order to meet the demands of the procrastinators.
We don’t necessarily all have a great heated workspace to work in so some repairs need to be put off until warmer weather. I am actually guilty of procrastination myself. It had been too many years since I had serviced my lower unit and changed out the water pump. This key piece of equipment can put a damper on a trip if it fails.
Lower unit repairs involve seals, pumps and impellers. These are all easy fixes if you take your time and keep your boat well maintained.
There are some people that don’t believe that accidents or incidents are avoidable, but I disagree. If you take some time, maybe even make a list, and perform some preventative maintenance on your boat you will not be left stuck on land while all your buddies are out slaying the coho or getting in on the early spring cooling lake bass bite.