Choosing the Best Boat Mechanic for the Job
You’ve spent a lot of money on your boat, so you want to keep it in good shape and running. To do so, you’ll need to find a reliable boat mechanic that has the technical knowledge to fix and maintain your boat’s engine. Sure, there are some basic maintenance tasks you can learn to handle yourself, like checking the oil, but today’s boat engines are so complex that they often require someone with special training and tools to work on them.
When it comes to choosing a boat mechanic, most likely, your expectations are pretty simple. You want someone who’s going to show up when they say they’re going to, charge you a fair price, have the knowledge required to do a good job, work on it in a timely manner and not try to sell you a service you don’t need. Right?
So how do you find such a reliable and capable boat mechanic? Capt. Cody Williams, co-founder of www.boaterslist.com, a website that connects everyone to everything on the water, says many folks simply do a Google search for a local mechanic, but he recommends relying on the word of mouth of fellow boaters instead.
Word of Mouth
“By doing a Google search, you may find someone to do the job, but who knows if they’re any good? If they do a poor job or they leave behind a big mess, like tape on your boat or trash, it just creates more work for you. You want a mechanic who will clean up the mess, be honest about what is wrong with your boat and let you know if he finds something else of concern, but you don’t want one who will claim you need a bunch of work that you don’t actually need,” Williams said.
Williams advises that when it comes to selecting a mechanic, to talk to other boat owners first, and especially ask boat owners who have the same type of boat as you.
“Other boat owners can act as a filter for you. Word of mouth is huge in the boating industry. If a mechanic did a good job for someone else, chances are, they’re going to do a good job for you,” he said.. “In fact, some smaller mechanics or mom and pop businesses that do really great work are not listed anywhere, and they only get their jobs through word of mouth.”
According to Williams, Boaters List is on its way to becoming that word-of-mouth source for everyone on the water.
“It’s going to be the contact you use to find the service you’re looking for,” Williams noted..
From marine services, to rentals, to charters, to fishing guides, to boat and equipment sales and everything in between – if it has something to do with boating, you can find a provider on Boaters List.
To find a mechanic on Boaters List, simply type the service you’re looking for and your city, state and zip code in the search box and a list of mechanics will come up for your area. This is an especially helpful service when you’re in a state other than your own and you don’t know who to call. Boater’s List does not yet post reviews for those who advertise services, but it soon will.. Once it does, the service will be invaluable to those looking for a reliable and trustworthy mechanic.
Currently, those searching Boaters List for the “best boat mechanic near me” can look to see if that mechanic is “Boaters List Premium Verified”. A mechanic can get that Premium Verified status if Boaters List has specifically talked to that mechanic and has remained in close contact with him or her.
“We just launched the Premium Verified status, which is a paid subscription for contractors,” Williams said. “That means Boaters List has a lot of contact with that contractor, plus the contractor can include photos and info about their company and the services offered. They get more use out of their profile when Premium Verified. From experience, we know those who take time to invest in their profile are typically more conscientious and interested in doing better work.”
Selecting the Right Mechanic for the Job
“You have inboard mechanics who are very specific about the type of boat/engine they’ll work on,” Williams said. “There’s just a lot to consider. Some mechanics, especially diesel mechanics, only specialize in certain brands.
When selecting a boat mechanic, remember that most of them specialize in engines or vessels. Depending on the type of boat you have, you may need a specialized service to maintain it. If you have a small skiff or any boat with an outboard motor, chances are the majority of outboard mechanics will be able to work on it. If you have a boat with advanced electronic equipment or a large inboard engine, you need to ensure your mechanic is qualified to work on it.
For example, a mechanic may only work on Yamaha or Mercury motors. Some mechanics are certified for certain motors and can only get parts for the engines they’re certified in. For example, Cat dealers can only get engine parts if they went to Cat school. If they didn’t, they can still work on Cats, but they can’t get the parts. In order to do warranty work on any engine, the mechanic must be certified in that particular brand.”
Williams says contractors can list their certifications in the profile section on Boaters List, which makes finding the right mechanic much easier for the boat owner.
So How Much A Boat Mechanic Near Me Cost?
Boat mechanic fees may be similar to those charged by auto mechanics, between $70 and $120 an hour, but rates can vary according to the region and season. Of course, more specialized services may cost more.
“While most mechanics charge hourly, some charge by the job. Of course, if the job only takes 30 minutes, they may charge for an hour’s worth of work,” Williams said. “Some just keep open tickets because they don’t know what the problems are going to be. They’ll charge a diagnostic fee and then you’ll get a price based on parts and labor. Sometimes it can be a moving number.”
Keep in mind that mobile mechanics may charge extra fees.
“My boat is not easy to take to people,” Williams said. “It lives in the water. If it’s a simple fix, I may not need to haul it out, and the mechanic can just come to me. Mobile mechanics really make it easier for those who own or captain large boats with inboard motors.”
Most of the time, those who work on outboards will have their own shop, often at their house. They may come to you, but they’ll often offer you a discount if you bring your boat to them. Some of the mobile mechanics will factor in travel cost with the job cost.
There’s a lot to consider when selecting a mobile boat mechanic. But, if you rely on word of mouth from other boat owners and make sure the mechanic has the qualifications, certificates and diplomas to prove he has the skills and knowledge necessary for working on your boat, then most likely, your boat will be in good hands.
And, if he does a good job for you, then spread the word and let other boat owners know. And remember, very soon, you’ll be able to check Boaters List to get that word-of-mouth-type recommendations when