Keeping your boat clean and looking brand new can be a task that constantly needs attention. If you live on a lake and store your boat outside all sumer, you especially know this to be true. Between the sun blistering down all day, birds using it as a perch, rain pounding on it, and the family using it regularly, it can be a tedious battle of upkeep. One of the best things you can do for your boat would have to be protecting and keeping your vinyl seats clean. Once those go, your boat definately takes a hit cosmetically.
You've had the boat for a while now and you've finally come to a crossroads. Its time for an upgrade but the real question is what route do you take. Are you looking for a new boat, new-to-me, or are you just looking to repower the old 2-stroke. One of the main things you should be thinking about is how the boat performs for your application of use. Does it do everything you need it to and if not, what would you like different? More often then not, the answer to this question is as simple as repowering the rig.
Being a boater in Michigan, you cant really compain about the weather we have had this year. Its now mid November and we are just starting to see the cold winds from the north roll into the state. I mean, an extra month or so out on the water is never a bad thing, but now its time to kick it into gear and winterize the boat for the upcoming months ahead. Winterizing the boat is one of the last things we want to deal with in the fall, well other than raking the leaves, but its essntial to protecting your investment and utilizing all of your days on the water next spring. Boats can be expensive to own but fixing broken parts due to poor winter preparation can get even pricier.
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.
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.