Boaters can get frustrated when a repair or upgrade takes a long time, but delays are often a simple result of supply and demand. “Spring and summer can be the most challenging times to get work done on a boat because everyone else wants their work at the same time,” said BoatUS Director of Consumer Affairs Charles Fort. But with a little foresight boaters can get the services they need – sometimes at a better price – now. And some things on a winter “to do” list don’t require outside help. Here are some common projects boaters should be looking at doing now, before the spring rush:
Engine and Prop: Getting your boat’s motor worked on in June is like waiting to buy Billy Joel tickets at the door. Get your mechanic on it now if you have a project in mind. It’s also the time to have the dings taken out of the prop – your prop shop guy will be glad to see you.
Canvas and Sails: Canvas and sail lofts are notoriously cyclical businesses so don’t feel guilty about asking for a discount on winter work. Now is the time to get the new bimini top made, repair the camper canvas, or get the sail stitched up.
Wiring: Every boater needs an extra 12V outlet at the helm, or knows of a corroded wire or two somewhere on the boat that needs fixing. If you want to take on this project yourself, here are some tips on wiring:
Paint and varnish: Generally you need warm weather for these projects – but consider taking home hatch boards, tiller handles or wood trim projects and working on them now in well ventilated basement or heated garage.
Line splicing: Maybe it’s an extra long spring line you’ve always wanted, or dock lines that will actually fit your boat’s cleats. Curl up by fire, sing a sea chantey, and start splicing because you will never want to do this in the summer. Here’s how to do it: www.BoatUS.com/boattech/casey/rope.asp
Chart and Electronics updates: Does your chartplotter use an old chip or are you using the same paper chart you had 10 years ago? Your helm electronics software may also have downloadable updates that make them perform better.
Do a winter tacklebox overhaul: You’re never going to want to do this once the fish start biting. BoatUS Angler pro Steve Chaconas shows how to get your tacklebox into shape at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMzNtCkVbic.