I have heard them so often I sometimes hear them in my sleep. A stitch in time saves nine. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Fail to plan, plan to fail. The list goes on, but the point is sharp and true. If you’re not moving ahead you’re falling behind. If you’re not keeping your outboard in good repair, then you will have on-the-water issues.
It took me exactly one time to learn the hard way, and that was when my steering cable froze. It wasn’t a big problem for my buddy was on the water about a mile away. He radioed that he’d give me a tow, not a problem. The issue was that he was on a pod of hot fish and I was going to have to wait until he was done catching.
Beggers can’t be choosers, so that wasn’t the straw that broke my camel’s back. My problem came when he radioed me every 15 minutes to tell me how many fish he caught and that the big fish were just starting to show up. My blood boiled.
So since I’d rather go fishing than hear my buddy razz me about it, I keep a boat maintenance log. Here’s an example of when normal engine work should be done so you can keep ahead of the curve.
|Task||Time in months||Hours of Operation|
|Oil and filter||6||375|
|Flush cooling system||72||6000|
|Clean air filter||6||1000|
|Check prop||Every time||Every time|
|Steering cable grease||12||Season|
|Battery charge||12||Charge after periods of low/no use|
Make sure you register your boat before you get out on the water!