Boat Repair 101: How to Choose a Proper Boat Mechanic
When you decide to buy a boat, maintaining it in good condition is of the utmost importance. Too many people who seem to be enthusiastic about boating when they buy their first boat fail to take care of it regularly, and thus the boat falls into disrepair, and the owners use it less and less.
There are many basic tasks that you can do to keep your boat in good condition, such as regular cleaning and checking the oil levels. Other things, however, may require you to hire a boat mechanic to undertake a more complex task. It can take a long time and much technical knowledge to learn how to fix and maintain a boat’s engine, so a mechanic is often the best port of call.
What Does a Boat Mechanic do?
A boat mechanic is a licensed technician on call to repair your boat when needed. Not only do they carry out basic and major repairs, but they can also give your boat an annual check to see if it’s seaworthy. In many locations where the winters are tougher, boats are stored away so that they do not suffer deterioration due to the poor weather. When the sun starts to shine again, it is good to call a boat mechanic to check your boat for you to make sure it is in good working order before you hit the waves again.
How to Choose a Proper Boat Mechanic
If you are buying your boat from a dealership, check to see if there is a warranty and the repair services they offer. If you buy from a good boat dealership, you can save money and have a mechanic that specializes in your type of boat, so it is always worth inquiring about this first.
Don’t be afraid to inquire about this before you buy a boat from a dealer. There is no use buying a boat from them if you have suspicions of them letting you down if your boat needs to be repaired, as this can be one of the biggest frustrations that you can come across as a boat owner.
Be sure to take a good look around their boatyard to make sure it is in good condition. If they can’t look after their own yard, what would make you think they can look after your boat? Here’s an example of a well-maintained boat repair yard.
Make sure that you ask to speak with their service manager in great depth. Ask how long he’s been working as a boat mechanic and ask about the other technicians that work there. Ask about how much experience and what qualifications they have. You may notice some certificates of excellence in the office. If you do, then this is a good sign. You can also ask if they have any master technicians. Getting to that level of expertise is very challenging, and many exams need to be taken to obtain that level of expertise.
In addition to this, depending on what type of boat you have, you may need a specialized service to maintain it. If you have a small skiff or any boat with an outboard motor, this is very unlikely to be the case. If you have a boat with advanced electronic equipment, technical apparatus, or a large inboard engine, you need to make sure that your mechanic is qualified to handle it. Many boat types have specific types of boat mechanics who’ll look after the boat that you have to a higher standard than your run-of-the-mill mechanic can.
If you don’t buy your boat from a dealership that offers repair services or buy your boat from an independent seller, you’ll need to source an independent mechanic. Some of these mechanics have yards to undertake service and repairs, while others are callout mechanics that will come to your marina to repair your boat. This type of service often depends on the size of your boat. If you have a smaller boat, it is often better to take it to the yard for a full inspection. If it is a large boat, then a callout may be easier, especially if the nearest boatyard is far away.
Tips for Finding Great Mechanics
There are a few ways to understand who is the best boat mechanic to use in the local area. First of all, we recommend asking other boat owners who are based in your marina for recommendations. Make sure to especially ask owners who have the same type of boat as you. Word of mouth is often the best way to find out, and if the person you receive a recommendation from someone is a friend of the owner, you may be able to get a discount from the mechanic, which is always nice.
The internet is another way to source a proper boat mechanic. With most businesses now receiving google reviews, you can begin to understand which ones are reputable and offer good service value and those you should never work with. After checking their reviews, have a look at their website to see what they specialize in and what services they offer. If they don’t list their prices, then give them a call or an email to receive a quote.
How Much Does a Boat Mechanic Cost?
Prices shall vary depending on what kind of work is required and if any parts need to be replaced with new ones. If your boat needs heavy parts or electronics replaced, then you can expect the charges to be very high.
Some mechanics have standard prices set for basic or annual services. Many boat mechanics also have lower rates in the winter due to having fewer customers. During summer and at the start of the boating season, you may also have to wait longer to be seen due to the influx of people needing repairs and annual maintenance on their boats as they are in greater use in this period of the year.
The expense also depends on what area you are based in. Those based in more lucrative boating destinations such as The Florida Keys shall charge a higher price because their regular clientele tends to be wealthier. If you are getting it repaired in a standard fishing town, you can perhaps expect to pay a bit less due to competition for the mechanics around. Hourly rates tend to start at around $70, but these can go much higher or lower if it is a small local mechanic.
There are various ways to choose a proper boat mechanic. First of all, it comes down to the point in time when you are purchasing your boat. If you are buying from a dealership, you should check out whether a warranty covers your boat and if the boat dealership has a service area where they can fix your boat for you. If so, then this is the place to get your boat fixed.
If your boat dealer does not offer this, then you’ll need to take a deeper look into the options in the area. Word of mouth is often the best way to find a proper boat mechanic as nothing comes better than a personal recommendation from a friend or fellow boat enthusiast. Google reviews are also a fairly reliable way of discovering if a boat mechanic is legitimate.
Make sure that you visit their repair station before you hand over your boat for them. You should know the mechanic and the technician’s qualifications, certificates, and diplomas so that you know that a governing body has deemed them to be of a skilled enough level to repair boats. If all of these things match up to a fair price, then go ahead, and use this mechanic. If they do a good job, then you know where you’ll be returning to if your boat needs repaired or serviced.