Boat Repair News & Articles

Welcome to the News and Articles section. Here you will discover the latest in Boat and Marine News.

Winterizing Your Boat

BOATING MAGAZINE - Too many boats die silently in their winter beds. But follow these easy tips, and your boat will be ready and eager to go in the spring.

Fuel Treatment

Treat your boat's fuel with a stabilizer. Pennzoil Fuel Stabilizer, PRI-G and Stabil are ideal products for this job. After adding it to the fuel, run the engine for 10 minutes or so to be sure stabilized fuel circulates throughout the engine. If you don't stabilize the fuel, carburetors and fuel injectors can be clogged with varnish deposits that ruin fuel systems. Cost if you do: $5 to $10. Cost if you don't: $250 to $1,200.

Fog the Engine Cylinders

Aerosol fogging solutions coat the inside of the engine to protect it until spring. Each engine manufacturer makes proprietary products they promote as ideal for their engines. Hook "ear muffs" and a garden hose to the engine, start it, and then spray the fogging-solution lubricant directly into the air intake until it's gone. If you don't fog the engine cylinders, corrosion can form inside the engine, covering the cylinders, pistons and rings with a patina of abrasive crud. Cost if you do: $5 to $15. Cost if you don't: $2,500 to $15,000 (or more).

Drain the Engine (for inboards and stern-drives)

Locate and open the petcocks (some engines have bronze plugs similar to bilge plugs) underneath the manifolds and on the sides of the engine block. Remove the water-pump hose from the bottom of the water pump to let it drain completely. If you don't drain the engine, water in the cooling chambers can freeze, expand and crack the engine block and manifolds. Tip: Newer MerCruiser stern-drives have handy drainage systems with one drain plug near the front of the engine. Outboards self-drain and never require this step. Cost if you do: $0. Cost if you don't: $5,000 to $20,000.

Change the Oil

Change engine oil to eliminate moisture and prevent corrosion. If you don't, moisture can cause excessive wear, which can lead to loss of power, poor fuel economy and possible engine failure. Tip: Some mechanics change the oil both in the fall and at spring breakout on the theory that the engine oil needs to be changed at the end of the summer and after suffering the ravages of winter because moisture may again accumulate in the oil. Cost if you do: $30 to $75. Cost if you don't: $500 (in extra fuel) to $20,000 (engine failure).

Drain the Gear-Case Lubricant (and recycle it)

Clear, amber-colored lubricant means your gear-case seals are in good shape. Milky and sometimes lumpy oil means the seals need to be replaced. Tip: The time to do this is in the fall when marine mechanics are less busy and sometimes willing to offer special prices for winter work. Cost if you do: $10. Cost if you don't: $2,000 to $6,000.


Tips for buying a boat

Fishing Journal - Published: September 10, 2014 08:03 PM -- First, determine what you want to use a boat for: water skiing, sailing, fishing, family outings, swimming, weekend cruising, or a combination. The use of the vessel will dictate the type of boat you buy.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has a great online tool at www.discoverboating.com to help identity needs and suitable boat types. It is helpful to determine boat type early in your search because it points you in the right direction.

Test drive

Most important, before you purchase, take your desired boat for a test run. If possible, test the boat under adverse conditions so you get a feel for how it handles. Operate the boat in the mode you are likely to use often -- fast speeds if you plan to ski, slow speeds if you fish and often troll.

New or used?

Like automobiles, new boats come with warranties. If something goes wrong (and with boats something often goes wrong) you want a warranty behind you. Old boats have a high frequency of repair and you may need more time to prepare for the season. A higher frequency of repair means more time off the water, which is something I try to avoid at all costs. If you are not a handy person and do not enjoy repairing things an old boat may not be for you.

Used boats cost less, which is a big advantage; however, they may need updates or repairs. So, consider these costs in addition to the purchase price.

Boat surveys

A helpful way to determine repair cost is to commission a boat survey. A boat survey is similar to a home inspection. Surveys are conducted by certified surveyors who closely examine a vessel's hull, structure, electrical system and engine(s). A survey will not only tell you what is wrong (and right) about the boat, it will give you an estimate of repair costs that can be used in price negotiations.


I'm Your Life Jacket, But you Don't Know Me

ALEXANDRIA, Va., April 30, 2014 (BoatUS Foundation) -- I’m your life jacket, but you don’t know me. I’m here to help you, maybe even save your life – but only if you’re willing to take the help. Maybe National Safe Boating Week (May 17 – 23) will help remind everyone that I’m here for you?

You think you may know me, but you really don’t. Because the law says you have to keep me aboard your boat, you think you’re safe. But you put me in places so hard to find, under piles of junk or buried in lockers so deep that no one will ever know who I am, especially if something happens to you, or if something bad happens very fast, like most accidents do.

Of all of the fatal boating accident victims who drowned, almost 85% weren’t wearing a life jacket. I wish I had gotten to know that 85%. I’ll bet their families do, too.

You’ve never taken me out of my new packaging, or let me meet your family or friends. You barely even talk about me. Everyone knows where to find the fishing rods, the cooler full of drinks, or the sunscreen. But me? Hardly anyone knows I exist.

About the only time you talk about me is when you take little boating guests aboard. You put my large adult-size on a small child, thinking I’ll keep them safe. But sadly, all that little guy has to do is put their hands over their head, and poof! I’ve gone up and over their heads. I don’t mean to, but I just can’t hang on their little bodies. Get a right-sized kids life jacket.

You don’t like the way I feel on a hot day? I don’t like the way you sweat either, but that doesn’t stop me from loving you. I’ve slimmed down a lot lately, lost a lot of my size and bulk, and given you lots of room to move around. If you don’t believe me, I have a lot of good, comfortable life jacket friends in all shapes, styles and sizes down at the boating supply store looking for a good home.

Just remember, when you need me, I will be there for you. But only if I’m worn, or very easy to get to, like under your seat. While I’m a little hurt that you may not choose to wear me all of the time, try putting me on a little more frequently. Just try it. I won’t tell anyone you’re doing the right thing.

I’m your life jacket. Remember that I’m here to save to your life, but only if you’ll let me.

About the BoatUS Foundation:

The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by the half-million members of BoatUS, it provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.


Five Ways Your Boat's Insurance Policy Can Fail You

BoatUS ALEXANDRIA, Va., January 30, 2014 – Insurance is one of those things you hope you never have to use, but if you do, you expect the policy to fix the boat or compensate you fairly. If you haven’t taken a close look at your boat insurance, you could be surprised to find that you may not be entitled to a payout with some common types of claims. That’s because unlike home or auto, boat insurance policies offer a wide range of coverage, from very little to a lot. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) recently took a look at the most common claims over the past five years, and has these tips so you will know if your boat’s insurance policy will live up to your expectations:

Consequential Damage: If you take hurricane losses out of the list of common claims, the number one claim is for sinking, and half of all sinkings occur at the dock when some small part below the waterline fails. The most common culprits include hoses/hose clamps, stuffing boxes, outdrive bellows, and sea strainers. But these parts most often fail due to “wear, tear, and corrosion” which is a lack of maintenance issue, so policies won’t pay you for a new outdrive bellows or sea strainer. But what about the rest of the boat sitting sunk on the lake bottom? Some policies won’t cover that, either, as they exclude any “consequential” damage as a result of wear, tear and corrosion. That’s why you need “Consequential Damage” coverage that covers losses that often start with a failed part.

Fuel-spill liability: Some policies only pay the cost of cleaning up a fuel spill if it occurs due to a “covered loss.” So if your sunken boat wasn’t covered because the outdrive bellows failed due to wear, tear or corrosion, the resulting fuel spill won’t be either. Sometimes fuel spill coverage is subtracted from other liability payments. A better policy separates out fuel-spill liability and provides coverage up to the maximum amount you can be held liable for under federal law, which today is a whopping $854,000.

Salvage: Hurricanes lead the list of most common claims from 2008 to 2012. In every hurricane boats get scattered and need to be salvaged and safely brought back to their storage area. That takes cranes, travel lifts, flatbed trucks, and other heavy equipment that typically costs hundreds of dollars per foot of boat length. However, as a few boaters found out with Hurricane Sandy, some policies subtract the money paid to salvage the boat from what you get paid to fix the boat, while others only offer salvage coverage up to 25% or 30% of the insured value. A better policy provides separate salvage coverage up to the insured value of the boat – in addition to any payments to fix the boat or replace equipment.

Wreck removal: When fires, sinkings, hurricanes or running up on a shoal destroy your boat, you end up with a “wreck.” Most boaters assume their insurance company will cover the cost of cleaning up what’s left, but some policies will give you a check for the insured value and only a specified percentage for wreck removal – 3% to 10% is typical – and walk away. That leaves your wallet short and you managing a job you have little knowledge of. Better policies pay up to the liability limit, usually $100,000 or more, to clean up the mess, and don’t let you go it alone.

Liability-only policies: Looking through the claims files, injuries make the top ten list for payouts not because of their frequency, but because settlements tend to be expensive. Having no insurance could leave you open to a six-figure settlement. If you have a liability-only policy, the better ones will cover injuries as well as salvage, wreck removal and fuel-spill liability.