Early Spring services can offer many challenges: snow, rain, wind and...Canadian Geese??
One afternoon while heading down the dock, Jeff noticed a Canadian goose peeking its head out of one of those large flowerpots that decorate the docks. He realized there were gosling's in the pot with their mother. As he set off toward the boat to do the service, the mother goose flew out of the pot and started screeching and hissing at him and flapping her wings. Not one to test these notoriously aggressive fowl, he took a step back and was ambushed by another goose flying in that divebombed him and grazed his head. It was then that he realized there were more geese flying in to create a barrier between him and the nest in the flowerpot.
Now Jeff being a Marine Corp veteran, his first reaction is not to back away from a confrontation. But on this day he knew this was not one of those battles he should fight and this boat service was completed the following week.
You'll never know what you'll find on any particular day, at any scheduled service. Jim boarded a boat for a service call and immediately heard what sounded like water in the bilge and the steady hum of the bilge pump. Looking below, he saw water shooting into the bilge through the thru-hull fitting, which was cracked. While holding the fitting with one hand, he dialed the marina with the other as this boat was on it's way to sinking to the bottom of the harbor. Luckily, they were able to tow the boat to the travel lift while Jim held onto the cracked thru-hull fitting. When they lifted the boat out of the water and Jim let go of the fitting, it broke off completely.
Just a reminder, checking the thru-hull fitting should be part of every boat owner's Spring maintenance check-up prior to launch.
Jim spent hours commissioning a brand new sailboat. This involves checking all the systems, top to bottom, bow to stern. All fluid levels were topped off, motor mounts were tight, the gauge panel lights were operational and reading properly. Except for ONE minor detail... Jim found no hose clamp on the water hose to the engine water pump. WHEN, not IF the hose popped off the engine, the bilge pump would not have been able to keep up and the boat would have flooded and ultimately sunk.
Using a checklist has advantages. Make your own or use one of our's before every trip. It may take a few extra minutes that can have a huge pay-off in the end.
One of our more interesting service calls involved a Catalina 38 in Vermilion. On a Saturday afternoon, we received an urgent call from the dockmaster. A couple of guys from Norway had traveled through the canal system from New York, and were on their way to Chicago and ultimately the Mississppi River. Although they both spoke Dutch, only one was able to speak very limited English.
They had pulled into Vermilion because their engine was overheating. Using his best guess instincts and the captain's limited English, Jim was able to ascertain that the engine was overheating because the cooler core was plugged. Jim found seaweed and pieces of an old impeller blocking coolant flow. He was able to clear the seaweed and impeller pieces and installed a seawater strainer to prevent debris from entering the water pump. The owner was instructed on keeping the seawater strainer clear and the importance of locating and removing broken impeller pieces.
We were able to put together a spare parts kit for the remainder of their trip and after the service was complete, they continued on their way. Interestingly enough, they offered to pay the bill with Bitcoin.