Why Boats suck

and yet why we love them

The name of this tribe, "Bust Out Another Thousand" is a phrase I heard a lot when I worked in the marine industry, usually after I told a customer that the "clunk" sound they heard was a rock; their propeller was junk and they also bent their propshaft. I don't think the expression requires detailed explanation beyond three small points: one, people assume that boats are expensive to fix; two, people assume that marinas are ripping them off; three, even people who may be mechanically educated can be ignorant to the unique characteristics of boats.

So let's address this. Boats are largely hand-made compared to cars. And in much smaller quantities. Besides having more quality-control issues, this also means parts will be more expensive later on. Like with cars, there are unscrupulous mechanics who will absolutely rip you off because they're inept at best, jerks at worst. But there are (hopefully more of) those who will charge you a fair labor rate and a fair markup on parts to fix whatever's wrong, and that's just business. We tried very hard to be the latter. And yes, sir, your boat really does have a thing called a sacrificial anode, and no, it's not a religious thing. Yes, it really does leak by design, that's not a joke. No sir, the only source for a proprietary ignition module for an obscure, outdated outboard motor is the manufacturer itself and yes that's actually our cost, no markup. I promise it's not in stock at AutoZone.

Then there's another thing people in seasonal climates do with boats that very few people have ever done to a car, nor in most cases would you need to: winterizing. So there's little understanding about what might need to be done to prepare a complex mechanical thing for six-plus months of hibernation, with the goal being that it might still function in the spring. It's a good idea to change fluids in the fall, too, so that if there were to be water intrusion anywhere, it would be spotted before it spends the winter rendering some expensive essential component useless. Don't forget you have to store this thing somewhere, too. It adds up pretty fast.

Even that only gets you to the time in spring when the boat comes out of hibernation and people expect it to fire up like they just parked it yesterday. Ever go on Craigslist and search for "ran when parked?" That's the idea. It will need some encouragement at least, and should have things looked over for animal nests, leaks, corrosion, and other issues to be sure your first outing with your family isn't spent waving down another boat for a tow home, or worse, hoping to get rescued before hypothermia sets in because a leaky hose sank the boat. Guess what? Marinas aren't doing this for free, either.

But I'll be damned if these floating money pits aren't a blast. Some of the best times I've had were a full day spent burning fuel at an alarming rate, surfing or skiing behind my boat with a full load of people, all enjoying the cool lake on a hot day. You can bring your beer, too, if that's your thing. From the first time I got my little 10' Lyman on plane as a kid, to every time I throttle up my boat now 25 years later, I get the same rush of excitement from the roar of the engine, the sounds of the water spraying out from under the hull, and the visual freedom of open water; 310hp at a flick of my wrist helps too. I will happily bust out thousands more throughout my life to keep up this habit.

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