Southwest Florida Yachts


Take care of your boat and
It will take care of you
By Barb Hansen
November 1, 2001

A lot has been written about how tough it is for boaters to get their boats fixed quickly when something goes wrong.

Boating magazine editors are editorializing about it. Services take too long and, with leisure time hard to come by these days, boaters are abandoning the leisure activity they most love.

The people at the marine industry association have identified poor service as a national problem. They say the automobile industry had the same problem at one time but it was addressed and things got a lot better. They want the same for boating.

Okay, but don't expect miracles. The automobile industry is huge. The boating industry is small in comparison. We probably already have as many technicians as the number of broken boats will support.

Is this another case of people being too quick to blame others?

As owners/operators of a yacht charter company, Vic and I have our own report card for when something goes wrong on one of our vessels.

If the manufacturer made it wrong, we ask for a make-good. If the marine service retailer didn't fix it right, we complain and ask him to do it again. But when one of our charter vessels is down because we failed to replace a worn-out part, then we give ourselves a failing grade. The way we figure it, that worn-out part should have been replaced, on a schedule, just like oil and filters and other "consumables."

At Southwest Florida Yachts we do all we can to prevent breakdowns because we could lose revenue and perhaps a customer, too. So we don't wait for trouble. We replace critical parts before they break.

You already take personal responsibility for seeing that your automobile is in good working order. If something is going to break, you notice something amiss. Something doesn't sound right. Something doesn't feel right. You get it taken care of.

Admittedly, it's easier to keep your automobile in good working order. You drive your car every day. The battery stays charged. The motor starts. You notice problems before they become big problems.

The problem with boats is most of us don't get to use them every day so we are not as likely to notice problems coming our way. Then, one day you load up the family and the picnic basket and turn the key. The motor won't start. Then you remember the last time you were out on the boat, it really wasn't running all that great. You had a warning.

It's one thing to be stuck at the dock, quite another to be adrift on the open sea.

Find a good mechanic. Tell him you'd like to set up a maintenance schedule to identify and replace worn parts before they break. Work with the same mechanic. Over time he'll get to know your vessel and will get better at anticipating problems. If you're a regular customer, he might even agree to put you ahead of the line in an emergency. Be polite, not rude. Ask, don't demand.

Take charge of your boat like you do your car. If you take care of your boat, it will take care of you.

Good service is not cheap, but peace of mind is always a bargain.

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Southwest Florida Yachts
3444 Marinatown Lane N.W. • North Fort Myers • Florida 33903
(239) 656-1339 (800) 262-7939 Fax (239) 656-2628

Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W

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