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12 Signs You Need Boat Repairs
What to Consider Before Renting a Boat

Taking your boat out into the open, calm waters can be a great hobby. Not only will it help you relax and escape your daily life, but it can also be a great way to spend quality time with your family and friends. 

There are many dangers involved in boating activities. According to the American Boating Association, there were 5,265 boating accidents reported in 2020, and 767 people died. Hence, ensuring the safety of you and your passengers is the priority.

This also means leaving boat repairs to professionals. If you’re not an expert and attempt DIY boat repairs, you could risk your life and that of your loved ones. 

So how do you know if you need boat repairs? Below are 12 tell-tale signs you should look for:

1. Unusual and Weird Sounds

A boat is quite similar to a car in that any unusual sounds mean problems. If you notice unusual sounds coming from the engine, it’s time to call a boat mechanic to check on it. Sadly, most people overlook issues with their boat engines until they turn into huge problems.

Ensure you listen carefully to the engine sound when the boat is running normally. This will help you identify any problems with the engine, especially if something sounds off. If you hear a growling sound, it could mean that your boat bearings are starting to wear off and failing.

But if you notice a funny sound from the tilt-lift motor, you could be dealing with an air issue. There may be some air bubbles forming in the fluid, calling for urgent boat motor repair. When you visit the boat repair expert, ensure you inform them of any strange noises from the engine to help them handle the problem correctly.

2. Strange Vibrations

When you take out your boat into the waters, there are normal levels of vibrations. However, you may notice strange vibrations coming from your boat that are much heavier than usual; this could be a warning sign that something is very wrong with the engine.

The vibrations could lead to vigorous shaking of your boat, putting you and your passengers in danger. If you have noticed odd vibrations, ensure you immediately stop by your boat repair shop for engine repairs. The professional mechanic will check the engine and other components to pinpoint the root cause of the vibrations and fix it.

3. Your Boat Is Overheating

Have you noted that there is a lot of heat coming from your boat and other equipment in it? This is another clear sign that you’re experiencing engine problems. Excess engine heat is dangerous, and it should be a significant cause of concern.

It’s not advisable to try and feel your way around the boat to pinpoint the heat source. You could sustain serious burn injuries in the process. But if you’re out in the waters and notice this problem, be very careful as you move around your boat.

Experts recommend that you take your boat to a repair shop immediately for a full-service. Only an expert will know what the issue is and ensure they fix it.

 If you’re not an expert, avoid the temptation of handling the problem yourself. Keep in mind that owning a boat doesn’t make you an expert repair mechanic.

4. Your Boat Won’t Start

Imagine this scenario; you’re all dressed up and a couple of friends have joined you for a lovely afternoon out in the water, but your boat won’t start. You turn the key repeatedly, but nothing happens, and the boat will not start no matter what you do. The perfect fishing afternoon with your friends is ruined, and there is nothing you can do.

Dealing with a boat that won’t start can be a frustrating endeavor. However, there could be many reasons why this is happening. Below are some of the causes:

  • No fuel
  • A dead battery
  • Dirty ignition points
  • Faulty switch
  • Fuel line problems
  • A Rotor problem
  • A disconnected kill switch
  • Filter issues
  • A defective connection

The above are just a few reasons why your boat won’t start. If this happens, there are numerous things you can do to ensure it starts. You can start by checking on the fuel and ensuring that any disconnected switches are well connected.

However, sometimes it takes a few hours to check that everything is in place. Hence, it’s more feasible to call a professional. 

Contact a boat repair service if your boat doesn’t start even after checking the switches and refueling. You could be dealing with a much bigger problem.

5. Steering Wheel Issues

If your boat’s steering wheel doesn’t steer as it usually would, you should be very concerned. This could indicate that it requires repairs as soon as possible. Common steering wheel problems include the wheel not turning and staying stuck in its current position, or it becomes hard to turn right and left.

Whatever the case, steering issues are a sign of significant problems. For example, you could be low on hydraulic fluid, making the steering wheel rigid. Try fixing the problem by adding some fluid to see if the problem goes away.

If you are still experiencing issues with your steering wheel, the problem could be caused by a leak in the system’s hydraulic fluid lines. This requires urgent repairs.

On the other hand, several things could be wrong if the steering won’t turn at all. One is a mechanical failure, a faulty cable system controlling the steering, or a loose connection. The critical thing to note is that if there are any issues with the steering wheel, the best thing is to call a reputable boat repair service.

6. A Broken or Damaged Drive Belt

Did you know that one of the major causes of an overheating engine is a broken drive belt? Unfortunately, a broken drive belt could cause more problems than overheating the engine. This is why you should call boat repair services immediately.

The broken belt could also lead to the alternator failing to charge properly. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to know whether your boat’s belt is broken. That’s because you can’t hear it break or snap.

But there is an easy way to know if this is the case. You will notice that the alternator is not charging, and there is a noticeable rise in engine temperature on the voltage meter. These are clear signs that you have an issue.

7. Water Leaks

Boat problems don’t only come from a damaged engine. Sometimes the body also causes problems. Your boat will take on some water, and the bilge pump will remove this water to ensure you are safe.

But if you realize that your boat is taking on a lot more water than is being expelled, you need urgent repairs. This often happens because of damage to the boat from underwater rocks and debris that cause a hole in your vessel. It could also be due to a broken and burst hose from the cooling system or the exhaust.

Unfortunately, these types of damages are dangerous and could cause your engine to lose power while you’re in the middle of a fishing trip. It can also damage your engine leading to expensive repairs or even engine replacements.

The problem could even be worse, leading to fatal results such as sinking or capsizing. However, this depends on the amount of water leaking into the boat and the intensity at which the water is leaking.

If you notice an unusual amount of water leaking into your boat, don’t go any further; call a service repair expert immediately. They have the expertise to handle the leak and pinpoint its cause to avoid secondary damage.

8. Sputtering or Complete Loss of Engine Power

Have you ever been out in the waters, and your boat starts slowing to a stop while it should be going full stream? This is every boater’s worst nightmare, and it could leave you scared, stressed, and feeling helpless. If this happens, ensure you send out an emergency signal to let the coast guard know you’re in distress.

Loss of engine power is often attributed to running out of gas, and almost every boat owner has been in such a position. However, it could also be an indicator of a significant boat problem that requires urgent repair. 

The problem could be stemming from your dirty filters. If there is dirt, debris, and dust on your filters, you need to clean up or replace them.

There are many causes of boat power problems. For example, you could be dealing with a faulty spark plug or a complex electrical issue. Whether you’re experiencing gradual or complete power loss, it’s a significant sign that you need repairs.

9. Your Boat Is Leaning on One Direction

Have you taken out your boat, but you notice it has a list, or it’s leaning in one direction while on the water. This could indicate that the boat is filling up on water that you can’t see. If the boat lists each time you take it out into the water, the issue could be the foam in the hull, and it could be filled with water.

Unfortunately, this isn’t good news as it could result in the sinking and capsizing of your boat, leading to a boating accident. Before taking your boat into the water, ensure you check to confirm that it sits evenly on the water.

Additionally, regular boat maintenance will help you diagnose such issues before they happen, helping you prevent a catastrophic event.

10. The Rub Rail Is Twisted or Bent

A twisted or bent rub rail is an indication that your boat has been in an accident. This is a clear sign that there is some underlying damage resulting from the collision. But you don’t always need to repair your boat immediately.

However, a bent rub rail means that you should not take out your boat before an expert checks it for any additional damage that could lead to fatal accidents. Never commit yourself to a long journey or a fishing trip with passengers on your boat if you notice a twisted rub rail.

While in most cases, you can quickly fix the rub rail, getting a specialist to inspect your boat will give you the peace of mind that you’re not endangering the lives of your passengers. Always take steps to ensure everyone on your boat is safe

11.  An Odd Smell

Boats spend almost all their lives in water. Hence, it’s common for them to develop a funky smell from time to time. But you should be very concerned if the insides of your boat start smelling musty and moldy.

This could mean that you have a mold and mildew problem. It’s also a sign that you have a water leakage that you’re not aware of. 

A funky-smelling boat could indicate that you have a permeated sanitation hose or a faulty bilge pump. These are issues you wouldn’t want to deal with.

If you notice a musty smell on the boat, you should first consult a professional watercraft repairs company. They will take a look at the boat and repair the source of the leak. The service team will also give your boat a thorough cleaning to remove the mold and mildew spores.

12. Damaged Electric Connections

While boats are created to stay in the water, this could also cause many problems. For instance, it’s not uncommon for the electric components of your craft to come in contact with water, leading to faulty connections.

Over time, the water may result in corrosion, causing the electric wires and connectors to start misfiring. This often results in complete damage if you don’t handle the problem immediately.

If you notice that all the electrical components on your boat aren’t working, it’s time to contact a boat repair expert immediately. They will check on the electric connections, repair any damages and replace all the faulty wires and connectors.

When to Call an Expert for Boat Repairs

As a general rule, it’s always advisable to let an expert handle serious boat repairs. Unless you have proper training, expertise, and experience, never attempt to handle serious boat problems yourself. You could endanger your life as well as the lives of your passengers.

With this in mind, keep an eye on your boat for the above signs. If you notice any, contact a boat repair expert today, and they will diagnose the problem and repair your boat immediately.

Are you a boat owner looking for a great boat club to join? Look no further; Freedom Boat Club has been supporting local boat owners since 1989. Join our community today, and we will take care of your boat storage, repairs and insurance so that you can focus on having fun.