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Keep up with maintenance, boat repairs can be costly

By Capt. GEORGE TUNISON - | Oct 23, 2020

Lately, my bay boat seems happier living at the local repair shop instead of my place. This time it was $800 to get it back, which is twice as bad as the $400 I paid not too many months ago. Boat (“break out another thousand”) should be a happy word. Not a frustration trigger.

I do as much maintenance at home as I can to help save money. Pro shop time is quite expensive, usually a hundred dollars an hour or more.

To save future costly repairs, it’s always a good idea to occasionally remove the prop on the gas and electric motor to inspect for discarded fishing line that will eat through your shaft seals. While inspecting for line, I also changed out the beat-up prop on the trolling motor. Unfortunately, I got cell phone sidetracked and forgot to put on the retainer. Went fishing the following day and got to use the electric motor for two seconds before I looked down and watched the $50 prop spin off and sink to the depths. I was quite excited to use my trolling motor with the new prop and with the three new $110 deep cycle batteries I had just recently installed. Now all’s needed is another $50 prop.

At least my trim tabs are working again. While the boat was back home at the shop, the pros discovered one of my problems was that “someone” had forgotten to re-connect two of the multitude of wires connected to the 3 batteries when “someone” recently did the battery swap at home to save money. So far just less than $1,700 for the last 12 weeks!

Did I mention that both my single and double axel trailers will soon need tires? That’s six tires and the truck is overdue for an oil change. Add $800 more.

On top of my ongoing maintenance, money, medical and societal breakdown woes, Evinrude tells us they’re finished making outboard motors, like the one I bought for the back of my boat. Great! Evinrude sited virus caused labor problems as the reason for closure but promises to honor existing warranties and supply parts.

I’m not so sure about the labor shortages. Maybe Evinrude decided with the current political climate and the promise of one party to end all fossil fuel use and stop cow flatulence, the time was right to exit.

Boating could soon be a luxury I can no longer afford in a possible “fossil free” near-future.

With 1,000-2,000 people relocating to Florida daily with at least 40-50% bringing boats and our pre-season local ramps already fully packed on weekends, one wonders where it will end. Imagine a thousand new residents here, with 500 more boats to launch each weekend? Add 5 -10 years to the equation.

Get in line Friday to launch Saturday? Maybe only launch on certain days according to your tag number? Uncertain future.

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. Contact him at 239-282-9434 or captgeorget3@aol.com.