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Boat Repair

Learn why boat repair and regular maintenance are essential to keeping a craft seaworthy.

Boat repair and maintenance are necessary for safe sailing. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Boat repair and maintenance are necessary for safe sailing.

Boat Repair

Just as vehicle owners and homeowners must deal with repairs from time to time, it is not uncommon for boat owners to face occasional boat repair. According to US Sailing, a boat that is shipshape is one in good, safe working condition, and keeping a boat shipshape is an important responsibility of any good sailor.

While all boats require repairs at one time or another, the repair process does not have to be stressful. To ensure boats are repaired quickly and correctly, owners should consider talking to marine specialists about routine boat maintenance, taking the time to choose experienced and trustworthy boat repair mechanics and taking the necessary steps to work with and not against boat service providers.

Routine Maintenance

It can be both frustrating and dangerous to discover on the water that a boat is not working properly. This inconvenience and danger makes routine maintenance critical for safe boating. To develop an effective maintenance schedule, boat owners should seek advice from marine service specialists, surveyors, boat manuals and publications. Boating professionals can help individuals identify necessary maintenance activities and tailor a maintenance routine to meet their unique boating schedules. When boat enhancements or major repairs are necessary, individuals should plan the work well in advance and discuss with the mechanic exactly what will be done. It is a good idea to find out how long the work will take and how much it will cost in order to plan accordingly. For major boat work, individuals should consider seeking assistance from certified marine surveyors.

Choosing a Boat Repair Service Provider

Experience, credentials and references are key factors to consider when selecting boat repair service providers. A great way to learn about a particular boat repair service provider is to talk to other boaters about their experiences with them. Individuals can also check the Better Business Bureau for complaints and find out whether the service provider has obtained any certifications or degrees from trade or professional associations. However, not all boat mechanics have formal educations in the field. According to DegreeDirectory, boat mechanics may either receive on-the-job training or formal training from a trade or vocational school. Mechanics may also pursue associate degrees in boat repair. Regardless of the educational path chosen be it on-the-job training or formal education it typically takes several years of practical experience for an individual to become a proficient boat repair mechanic. Therefore, it is advisable for boat owners to choose a boat repair specialist with sufficient experience.

Cost is another factor to consider when selecting a boat repair service provider. According to the Marine Trades Association of Maryland, the price of many boat repair services is based on both time and materials. Therefore, the best cost-saving approach is to find a service provider who will do quality work quickly. After examining background information on several facilities, boat owners should choose one they trust and with which they feel most comfortable.

Working With Boat Repair Mechanics

Boats are substantial investments, which makes it important for owners to protect them. Boat owners should take several important steps when dealing with boat repair specialists:

  • Request work estimates
  • Communicate openly with service providers
  • Keep updated repair records
  • Verify all completed work

Due to the range and complexity of boats, it may be challenging for a repair mechanic to provide a solid estimate of work and time required to complete the job. However, mechanics may be able to offer fairly accurate quotes based on ease of accessing boat controls, diagnosis of the problem and assessment of any issues that could delay the repair.

Communication is critical when working with boat repair mechanics. In order to facilitate open communication, it is important to be upfront about expectations, concerns and needs. Boat owners should make clear how often they would like their mechanic to provide status updates and how far the mechanic should go before obtaining additional work authorization. Additionally, boat owners should obtain all estimates and work orders in writing. Written communication ensures that both the boat owner and service provider fully understand the work agreement and resolution process, should anything go wrong.

While trust is important, it is still a good idea for boat owners to verify that all work has been completed appropriately. For large boat repair jobs, individuals may consider hiring a surveyor to confirm the boat is in good working condition after the repair. The cost of a surveyor is minimal compared to taking the boat back for service. For minor repair work, individuals should assess all completed work before signing off and paying for the service. Boat owners should take time to inspect repairs carefully and ask questions about anything that does not seem right.

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