With these warmer temperatures, our eye is on the prize – boating season! And when that first nice day arrives, it’s temping to hit the water immediately, wing it, and hope for the best. However, doing this often leads to breakdowns and a slow joy-ride as you’re being towed back to your launch point. Do yourself a favor and prepare your vessel the right way. It is best to have a certified mechanic complete any pre-seasonal maintenance, but if you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer – no worries. The steps below will provide a few basic (but crucial) things to check before your first launch. Pre-season maintenance will vary depending on different models, sizes, years, etc. Please be sure to check your owner’s manual to complete the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance.
Vans Sport Center is an authorized dealer for all of the top brand names in the outboard industry which in turn allows us to periodically offer select new outboard motors at great discounted prices. All of the motors that we have discounted are brand new and still in the crate unless they are on display in our show room. No used motors, returns, or demos here. This is just one of the ways we like to say thank you to our customers for the many years of business in beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan. I mean who doesn't appreciate a steal of a deal every once in a while?
Unless your a duck hunter or fishing the rivers this fall in Michigan, its probably a good time to think about winterizing your outboard and shrink wrapping your boat for winter. Yes, there are still going to be some good days of boating ahead, but when the thermometer drops, getting your boat out of the water is the last thing you will want to take care of. Dealing with the cold, rain, or possibly even snow will just make the task at hand that much harder and unenjoyable.
As I am looking over the Mercury Marine outboard motors for this up coming season I am seeing quite a few new additions and changes that have been made. Honestly, there are so many new motors this year that it looks like they have completely revamped their whole line-up. Which is exciting news if you ask me. Although the majority of the changes start at the 150hp range and go up from there, their 15 and 20hp outboards have some interesting improvements that can be seen as well.
Winterization season. Its a sad time of year for serious boaters and die hard lakers when they come to the realization that they have to prep the boat for the winter months and store it away until spring. To be honest, its not something any boater looks forward to, but if not done you can have some major issues and huge costs on your hands come spring time. If you are like me and winterize your outboard on your own you are going to want to do it by the book. That means treating the fuel system with stabilized gas, changing the gearcase lube, fogging the powerhead and lubricating all of the moving parts. Even if you do all of these things to a T, you can still screw up and make some huge mistakes that will leave you at the dock next season.
Fall means a lot of different things for the people here in Michigan, but for Michigan anglers it really only means one thing. They finally get to fish the annual Salmon and Steelhead push as they make their way up our many streams and rivers. To be successful landing these powerful fish not only takes skill but a special set of tools. One of the most important pieces of equipment needed by river anglers would be a flat bottom stacked with a two or four stroke jet drive outboard. Vans Sport Center is a certified dealer for all of the top brand names in the marine industry, we know our jets and what river fisherman demand in a shallow water outboard.
Along with their recent brand update late last year, Tohatsu decided to expand their Electronic Fuel Injection four stroke lineup. Before now, there was only one of the major outboard manufacturers making an EFI motor as low as a 9.9hp. Now that Tohatsu are manufacturing EFI 9.9's, they are definately going to be a game changer in the smaller horsepower class. Their newest members to join the EFI family this year are the 20hp, 15hp, and 9.9hp four stroke portable outboards. Im sure the other brands wont be too far behind in the EFI game, but for now its pretty cool to see another option on the market.
Your at your local outboard dealer shopping for a new motor and the salesman hits you with the question, "short or long shaft?". For most boaters this is a no brainer, but for the novice or inexperienced boater it may be a tougher question. As a dealer I run into this situation from time to time, which is fine but getting the right length outboard for your boat is crucial. I mean, who wants to purchase something as expensive as an outboard to only realize you bought the wrong one. So in hopes that this will help out some new boaters this spring, here's a little rundown on outboard shaft sizes and how to figure out which one you actually need.
The summer sun has finally set and its time to start the annual fall chores of pulling the boat out and beaching the dock. Usually this task is an all day event, or in some cases if you have multiple boats and a longer dock, it can be all weekend. But the work doesn't stop there. Once you have all of that finished, don't just rush your boat straight over to the storage site. Get it winterized and prepped for the brutal Michigan winter months ahead. I know it's a pain in the neck to have to deal with after you just did all of that work, but it could save your boating season next year. Or at least the start of it. A boat is an investment and you should protect it, especially with something as easy as getting it winterized.
You have been tossing around the idea of repowering your trusty boat for some time but the same question keeps popping up. Two or four? Which is a good question to have for a number of reasons. But to get to the answer of that question, you should first know the difference between the two motors. They both have their advantages and disadvantages. Once you have a good understanding of them, it really comes down to what motor is the best for your application of use.