Spring Tune-Ups - A Real Money Saver

Written By: Ralph Lawson
Regional Service Manager
Mercury Marine
Originally Published in the May 1992 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.

 Getting Your Motors Ready For Opening Day

Why is spring maintenance so important to a camp and resort operator? Simple…it is your business to ensure that your clients are provided with the best boating enjoyment possible, at the least possible cost to you.

And when it comes to ensuring that your boat fleet will cost you the least for the upcoming season, think spring maintenance and you and your client will both benefit greatly.

When to perform spring maintenance might be the first question to think about…and the answer is the easiest one of all. As soon as the boat/motor is brought out of winter storage is the best time to inspect and maintain your outboard fleet.

Here is an example of a maintenance checklist that you should follow, in conjunction with your dealer or manufacturer’s service representative this spring.

Give this checklist a chance and it will save you money!

These tips, when followed and/or accompanied by dealer or service representative help, will make your operation more profitable this year by keeping your boats where they belong – out of the shop and on the water.


TIP ## 1 – EFFICIENCY: The real day-to-day cost of running a fishing motor is what really counts. Base your outboard decision on the following factors to help increase your bottom line.

How much fuel does it use per horsepower/mile per hour? All of the exaggerated claims in the world will not change the amount of fuel that is still in the tank at the end of the fishing day. That is one thing that no outboard company can lie about. Assemble your information on fuel consumption by checking out competing outboards on similar boats. The differences can be truly astonishing!

Check out the propeller. It may seem to you to be nothing more than a good nick in the blade, but if you could see what that nick was doing to the water flow down there you would not believe it! Even if you just file it smooth, a distorted propeller can cost power.

Service counts. A misfiring plug, a leak in a fuel line or fitting, or a poorly adjusted carburetor can cost you fuel and money. Get them fixed, and your operation will put more dollars toward the bottom line!

TIP ## 2 – THE GUIDE: It is important to the future of Canadian fishing camps that our guides be taught to “entertain” our guests, as well as to catch fish. That will mean, among other things, that the guide need not go “hell for leather” between fishing locations. Getting there should be half the fun for our guests.

Every guide should be reminded that full-throttle operation is only for getting the boat up onto plane quickly. The throttle must then be trimmed back to operate in the most economical cruise range for better fuel efficiency and costs. Ask any bush pilot, they do exactly the same thing.

Fuel tanks should be filled with care to prevent spillage and an easily understood measure should be used to correctly ensure a proper gas/oil mixture is used, even in partly filled tanks.

Lastly, outboards need no warm-up period if they are properly serviced. They should not be left idling when they can just as easily be stopped and started when needed, saving you those expensive fuel costs once again! 


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