There are some untold truths about boat purchases, and the old adage about the best two days in a boater’s life is the day you buy it and the day you sell it is completely true.
If you buy a boat with the idea you never have to work on it or you will just take it to your dealer when it does break, be prepared to either be broke or mistaken.
Boats just have issues at times that could need repair and most who own one may just want to add features to them, too. You can either do it yourself or pay to have it done and, honestly, for the most part, there is no manual.
Shade tree mechanics do have a small advantage, but as fast as things change it would be great to have made friends with your local dealer. Dealers have a huge advantage on engine repairs and some installs of sophisticated electronics.
The bad part is timing. For the most part, you will do it on their time table, not your's.
We are blessed in our area to have good dealers with Lake Bloomington Marine, Buell’s Marine, Watkins Marine, Bedford Sales and D&R in Chenoa, but they are usually swamped this time of year and getting in will require an appointment. Your emergency isn’t their's, but knowing all of them well, they will do their best to get you in and taken care of as fast as they can.
For the most part, I am always tinkering on my boats. I believe I can fix most things, but do use the experts at the dealer’s locations for parts and assistance, too. Not being afraid to tackle the small stuff is a huge advantage and like my Grandpa once said, “If a man makes it, a man can fix it."
I honestly love working on my boats, and although my wife calls it piddling, I love seeing a plan come together. A good rule of thumb with boats is they will all need something, and the more you can do yourself, the better off you will be.
Warranty issues are entirely another set of rules and it’s always best to take them directly to the dealer. Dealers hate working on things that those that are not trained work on first as then they have to fix two things — the issue and how you made it worse.
The rule of thumb is if you don’t know what you are doing, do not attempt it. That will make everyone happy and get you back on the water faster.
Generally there are things that anyone who can use a hammer and a pair of pliers can do, and there are others that call for an expert. For one, the experts have experience and have seen a lot more than most buyers ever will and they know their product lines. They have specific training and also have the correct tools to do the job.
Grandpa also always said, “Not everything is a nail and a hammer only works for some things. Having the right tools for the job is the key.”
Tightening screws, fixing pumps and hoses and keeping maintenance issues up to date are easy, and unless you are mechanically challenged can save a few backs by learning to do yourself. Changing oil and lower unit lube are simple, but again read and do them to manufacturers' specifications. Cutting corners and using an inferior grade of oil or grease is not a good idea.
You don’t have to use manufacturer-specified products. Oils and lubes are recommended by the manufacturer as some non-OEM products can be just as good if they meet manufacturers' specs. It is a comfort level deal.
Manufacturer manuals give specifications for the type of oil and lube and will usually recommend their products as they know their formulations and reputation. They are usually more expensive, too. Using their products is a good idea on new or under warranty products and if you just feel more comfortable using them. An engine is a very expensive item.
I use a lot of Lucas products because they are certified as some of highest quality lubricants and have a reputation at the top of the oil food chain. They produce all of their own products, and that goes a long way with me. For instance, their two-cycle oil is TCW3 and National Marine Manufacturer certified, and that means you can use it without worry. It also has a smoke inhibitor that I like.
Most companies have manuals and most boats have reputations. Check out both before purchasing a new boat this year and don’t be afraid of getting a used boat if it is checked out by a dealer. Cylinder compression, wear and tear, and equipment included is a good starting place and talk to others who have owned similar boats.
Clean, shiny and well cared for is a good start, but never buy a boat without first water testing. Most dealers and sellers highly recommend that and the peace of mind knowing it’s been checked out is huge to a boater with limited experience.
Take someone who is not mechanically challenged on the first few trips, too. You will be glad you did.
Clinton Lake Catfish Series
The latest Clinton Lake Catfish Series Tournament on Clinton Lake was won by Tyler Sapp and Adam Hart with six cats weighing 62.30 pounds. Second was Andy Duggar and Jarret Lents with 59.60. Big cat of the event was caught by Jason Marquis and Chad Abner and weighed 26.10.
The next tournament is on Clinton Lake on July 27th from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. out of the Clinton Marina. Contact Mike Posio at email@example.com for more details.