That’s what they say when “they” hear you have a boat. “ehhhh, it’s just a hole in the water where you throw money, amirite?!?”

Kind of, yeah.

My son was in the boat with me earlier in the week, and I banged on the dash to try to get the dead volt gauge to come to life. He says, “Why did you hit the dash, daddy?”

“Oh, this gauge doesn’t work. And that pump on the ballast tank, too.”

“Why are so many things broken with your boat, daddy?”

My immediate reaction: “It’s a BOAT, there’s always something wrong with it, of course!”

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It was my birthday yesterday, so I took the day off work, filled the back of my wagon with tools and parts, dropped the kids at preschool and headed to my boat with a small punchlist; only some were actual repairs, the boat was running fine before I started. It just had a few... little things.

Before:

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During:

This was just the very beginning

Here’s a partial list:

  • move batteries to starboard (right) side for better weight distribution
  • add automatic charging relay to batteries and re-wire existing switch
  • r&r dead pump for one of the ballast tanks
  • install subwoofer
  • change oil in transmission and v-drive
  • remove heater core, flush out, install inline mesh filter
  • repair torn vent hoses from heater
  • install power outlet in glove box
  • install new phone holder on dash (this is the primary music control)
  • vacuum interior

I figured I’d spend about 3 hours doing all that, then go for a bike ride. I spend six and a half hours doing those jobs, and I didn’t even get to the power outlet or phone holder. Both of those, though, I can do easily without taking apart half the boat and very few tools are required. So they got pushed off.

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This stuff was all in the boat, and it wasn’t loose on the floor, it was all neatly stored. It’s amazing how much crap you can accumulate in there.

Overall, though, it was tremendously satisfying to get all these things done that I just never seem to find the time to do. The boat is new to us as of June last year, and while it really didn’t NEED any work, there’s always a bunch of little stuff that could be better, or preventative maintenance that needs to be done, or a new thing I want to add for convenience. I also haven’t explored every inch of this boat yet, so it was very good for me to just familiarize myself with some of the things I haven’t had to touch yet.

This is just a small sample of the many hoses and wires going everywhere in this boat. You DO NOT want a poorly maintained example of this boat, it will kill you.

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With my old boat, I once went down to tighten two screws and found myself 2 hours later still finding little things that needed attention. It’s stuff like this that really kills people with boats. You probably aren’t paying a shop to find every tiny little thing that might need attention, but if you aren’t noticing this stuff, it can cause an unexpected failure, or just a broken piece of something, a rattle, a leak, who knows? And if a marina DID find every single detail, address it, and bill you, you’d probably be irate.

I did probably $1,000 worth of work to the boat yesterday, and to someone who didn’t know I’d worked on it, they would have noticed absolutely nothing different from before to after. This is AFTER I had spent about 4-5 hours doing some basic maintenance to get the boat ready for the season, along with making a few changes here and there, and addressing things I saw as problems in the making. So there you have your thousand. Where did it go, exactly? Well, now when I go out with my family, I’ll be able to just enjoy the time, rather than thinking about which of the 10 things I need to do is most urgent.

I did enjoy a nice test drive after everything was all done, of course. And a dip into the lake to wash off the sweat, blood, and grease - which was extremely refreshing, as the lake temp is probably still in the low 50's. I’d be able to give an exact temp, but the lake temp sensor doesn’t work right. That’s a detail for another day.