With more than twelve million boats registered in the United States, it’s no surprise there are many marine mechanics out there. The question is, how do you find a good, reliable marine mechanic when you need one? We’ve all heard horror stories about mechanics who overpromise and under-deliver.
Your boat is your baby, and you don’t want to miss any more time on the water than necessary. Boat engines, outdrives, and systems are complicated. Knowing how to diagnose problems and make the right repairs takes training and experience. Let’s take a look at how to find the right mechanic.
What kind of Marine Mechanic?
Chances are, you know how to do all of your own routine boat maintenance. Using boat hull cleaner, waxing, and polishing? No problem. Maybe you do your own oil changes, even swap out impellers.
But for more serious issues, it’s time to call in a boat mechanic. Who you call depends on several factors. Do you need outboard motor repair? Do you have an inboard-outboard or a diesel? You’ll want a mechanic who’s trained – hopefully, factory trained – to work on your specific marine engine.
Finding a Mechanic for Your Boat Engine
Do you keep your boat on a trailer or in the water? If it’s in the water, does your yard allow outside contractors in? Did you buy your boat from a dealer? Is it new or used? The answers to these questions help determine how to look for a mechanic.
Doing a Google search seems like the first step, but asking your dealer or other boat owners is the best route. Skilled boat mechanics don’t come cheap – $70 to $125 per hour is the norm. You don’t want to call the first name that pops up.
Boats on Trailers
If you bought your boat – new or used – from a dealer, give them a call. The dealer may have a service department. Even if they don’t, they have mechanics they recommend. Of course, you’ll want to check references and talk with other owners who have had work done by their mechanics.
Trailerable boats can be towed to the dealer or mechanic for service. That can save you some money.
Boats Without Trailers
For boats that can’t be trailered and are kept in water, you have several choices. Many private marinas have their own service departments. Depending on their policies, you may have to use their mechanics or drive the boat to another yard for service.
Many marinas will allow mobile marine mechanics to come and work on your boat. The best mobile mechanics are factory-trained, certified, and come fully equipped.
Ask other boaters in the marina which mechanics they recommend. Word-of-mouth referrals are always the best way to find reliable marine mechanics!
Get the Job Done Right
When your boat needs service, you want to get the repair done as fast as possible. And you want the repair done right the first time. References and referrals are the best way to find the best marine mechanic for your boat!
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