Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Boats Break Down (Part 2)

Last week, you saw the first part of our series on top 10 reasons boats break down and how to fix/prevent the problem. Here is part 2! Summerset Boat Lifts hopes you have a wonderful time out on the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks, but just in case something unexpected comes up, we want you to be prepared!

6. Vibrations

The vibrations worsen the faster that you try to go and you might also notice the engine racing while you are actually losing speed. Most likely something has gone wrong with the prop.  A nick or gouged blade can create imbalance and vibration, a towrope or fishing line can snarl the shaft, or a direct hit on an object could remove or misshape enough metal to make the prop ineffective. Sometimes this distortion or damage is hard to see.  Since changing the prop isn't always possible or even advisable while on the water, it's best to slow down and concentrate on getting back to your dock and up on your boat lift at the Lake of the Ozarks.  You might have to trim up the motor and clean out the prop if monofilament has work its way in there. If there is enough to cause a noticeable decrease in performance, you shouldn't ignore the problem because it could lead to permanent damage. Consider carrying a spare prop and practice changing the prop so you don't run into any surprises while away from home.  Be sure to also have gloves and a brand-specific prop wrench with you.

7. Won't Shift

After lowing your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift and pulling away from the dock, you push the shifter, but the boat never leaves idle speed.  The shifter is not engaging with the transmission.  If you have e-link electronic controls, it may be a fuse issue.  However, since 90 percent of small boats still use mechanical cable shifts, its probably a stuck or broken linkage.  Start at the gear box to make sure the cable hasn't become detached from the shift lever on the transmission housing.  If internal corrosion has caused the cable to stick, try wiggling it free.  If you need to, shift manually at the engine/transmission, just don't try any fancy docking maneuvers while in this situation.  If the problem seems to be on the transmission side rather than with the cable, it might be an actual transmission failure.  Unfortunately, there's not much you can do here, but call for help. The leading cause of transmission failure is lack of fluid or gear oil.  For prevention be sure to keep those levels topped off and changed regularly, maintain the end fittings and hardware, and periodically service the cable. Be sure to carry extra transmission fluid and wire, tie wraps and 3-B Weld for quick linkage repair on the boat with you.

8. Won't Steer

If you turn the wheel and the engine/outdrive doesn't turn or it's frozen in place, most likely the steering system is low on hydraulic fluid or there's a leak. Add fluid to the system as needed to get it working again. If you do notice fluid seeping out of the console or a fitting near the motor, see if you can tighten that fitting.  If the drive is frozen in place, it could be a mechanical failure, possibly a loose connection on the steering arm.  On boats with full mechanical steering , the problem could involve any part of the cable system.  Tracing the lines is the best way to find the problem.  To prevent this problem from occurring, be sure to check your steering fluid level periodically, as well as lubricate and service mechanical systems.  Be sure to carry an extra bottle of hydraulic fluid and a small funnel on board with you.  

9. Rising Water

You may notice the bilge pump seems to be working overtime or that the boat suddenly feels heavy and seems to be filling with water.  Assuming you remembered to insert the transmission drain plug and you didn't hit an iceberg, the most likely reason for rising water is a burst hose, either on the engine's cooling and exhaust system or an intake for a livewell or raw-water wash down.  Shutting the engine down should stop cooling-related leaks because most boats have a shutoff valve or "sea cock" next to the water intakes.  If you carry a spare hose and clamps, you can make a quick swap out.  If you aren't that prepared, you still might be able to cut and shorten damaged-end fitting or wrap a split section in tape to provide a resolution to at least get you home.  A loose or split hose inside an outboard cowling won't sink you, but it will cause engine damage and could shut your boat down.  Periodic inspection and replacement of suspicious or aged hoses and associated fittings is the best way to prevent this problem.  You should carry spare hose clamps, razor or knife and heat resistant rescue repair tape on board with you in case this situation occurs.

10. Trim is Stuck

You are trying to load your boat onto the trailer, but the outdrive/outboard won't raise. Assuming you don't have a bad fuse, there is some sort of mechanical/hydraulic problem. The simple solution is to wade out back and raise it by hand; you'll need to know the location of the trim release valve to do this, which is usually a small screw near the base of the outdrive/outboard.  Opening this valve will release pressure from the hydraulic loop, allowing the drive to tilt.  For prevention, maintain adequate fluid levels and inspect periodically to ensure there are no leaks or water intrusion into the fluid reservoir.  Be sure to carry screwdrivers on board with you to be able to open the release valve.

Even if a boat looks extremely clean, that doesn't mean its been maintained well.  Many owners make sure their boats are washed and waxed to shine, but disregard the importance of the internal workings. A little bit of maintenance can go a long way and save you money in the long run.  Plus, if you're boat is regularly maintained, you'll be less likely to experience one of the issues above!

In addition to maintaining your boat, its important to perform regular maintenance on your Lake of the Ozarks Boat Lift.  For all your boat lift servicing needs, Summerset Boat Lifts is here to help! We want our customers to relax knowing their boat lift needs are being handled by professionals. Be surprised at how soon you may see a representative of your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift company on your dock. We want to earn your trust and your business!

Source: http://www.boatingmag.com/top-10-reasons-boats-break-down

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top 10 Reasons Boats Break Down (Part 1)

..and How You Can Fix It and Prevent It From Happening Again

One of the worst things that could happen while you are out on the water trying to have a good time is your boat breaking down. Just like with a car, there are many different things that can go wrong. Your only choice may be to ask for help from either a towing company or a fellow boater. However, in some instances a prepared captain may be able to make the necessary repairs to at least get the boat back to your Lake of the Ozarks boat lift.  BoatingMagazine.com interviewed a group of respected boat mechanics to come up with the 10 most common reasons boats break down, as well as what it would take to fix the problem and prevent future ones from occurring.

1. Sputtering and Losing Power

If your boat feels like its running low on power but you still have plenty of fuel, you most likely have a problem with your filter or spark plugs.  The solution to this problem is to replace the fuel filter; its a good idea to keep an extra one on board along with a filter wrench in case you get caught in this situation. If you don't have one with you, the next best thing to do is clean out the filter to remove any debris and drain any accumulated water.  Afterward, be sure to vent the engine box thoroughly before restarting it.  If you forget this very important step, you will have bigger problems than just a clogged filter. Although its possible to get a bad batch of fuel, its more likely that it went bad while in your boat. Leaving your tank low on fuel for a long period of time causes condensation and water in the gas.  If your boat is going to sit for awhile, you should consider adding a fuel stabilizer and then be sure to run the boat long enough to get the treated gas into the engine as well.

2. Broken Belt 

You probably won't hear the sound of the belt actually breaking, but you will know something is wrong when your overheat warning light comes on or your voltage meter shows that the alternator isn't charging.  This problem can shut you down in a hurry because you'll no longer have an alternator or water pump.  Although there are many videos and other info out there about jury-rigging a temporary belt with fishing line or pantyhose, it makes sense just to keep an extra belt on board.  To prevent this problem from occurring while you are out on the water, you should inspect, tighten and dress the belt before you take off.  You also might want to check the condition of the pulleys' contact surfaces because corrosion can cause rough spots on the pulleys that will eat away your brand new belt.

3. Engine is Overheating

If the temperature gauge is rising, it almost always means you have a lack of water flow in the cooling loop.  Most boats don't have radiators like your car, instead they use the water they are floating on to cool the engine.  If that water stops flowing, the engine heats up and ultimately it will fail.  To solve this problem, trace the source; in many cases, the problem is an obstruction in the raw water intake such as weeds, mud or a plastic bag.  If you locate the intake and clean it out, that will most likely solve your issue.  Be sure to carry a soft wire or rod to snake intake clogs. To prevent this from happening in the future, its important to regularly service and replace the impeller.  You should check for any scarring or pitting of the metal housing because that can cause even a good impeller to lose pumping power. Also, have the mechanic check the exhaust system.

4. Won't Start

You know the frustration of turning an ignition key and hearing nothing.  This is most likely an electrical issue, possibly a low or dead battery or a break somewhere in the ignition circuit.  First thing to do is check the kill switch.  Make sure the shifter is in neutral and pay special attention to the starter switch.  Sometimes the dashboard mounter will become loose causing the entire switch mechanism to turn with the key.  Fixing this type of problem can be as simple as getting behind the dash and tightening up a retaining nut or mounting screws.  If the starter groans but won't engage, it could be a low battery, but it also might be a loose or poor connection.  For prevention, the key again is routine maintenance.  Inspect, clean and replace your wiring periodically.  Be sure to carry screwdrivers with insulated handles and wrenches in case you find yourself in this situation.

5. Went Dead

Hopefully, this is just a matter of someone accidentally bumping the kill switch or you're simply out of fuel.  If neither of those are the case, this usually means there's been some type of electrical failure. It could be a blown fuse, tripped breaker, loose connection or corrosion. After checking to make sure the key hasn't come loose and the kill switch for sure has not been activated, check for any loose connections.  Fiddle with the switch a bit and check its attendant breaker or fuse.  If this doesn't solve the problem, its time to move on to the engine. Corrosion is the most likely source of your problems; even boaters who contentiously maintain the battery terminals might forget the other end of those wires, which also call for the occasional cleaning.  If it turns out to be anything more than this, such as an ignition chip or an EFI engine, its probably time to call the professionals for help.  Learning the various components of the ignition system and periodically inspecting, cleaning and coating each exposed connection with an anti-corrosion product is the best way to try to prevent this problem from happening again.  Be sure to carry a wire brush on board in case you need to clean terminals.

Stay tuned next week for the next 5 points in the top 10 reasons boats break down!  If your boat is fine but you are having issues with your lift, be sure to Summerset Boat Lifts to get it serviced before it starts causing problems for your boat!  Outstanding service is what makes this Lake of the Ozarks boat lift company stand out.  We want our customers to relax knowing their boat lift needs are being handled by professionals. Summerset’s record of service after the sale is unparallel in the boat lift industry. We don’t just sell you a lift, we sell you our service.  We’re here to make certain you and your boat get the very best level of product and service at the Lake!

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Preventing the Spread of Zebra Mussels in the Lake of the Ozarks

Boating Season underway here at the Lake of the Ozarks and the Lake is swarming with boats. Vacationers come from all over to enjoy this beautiful area, so its important that we protect our waters from invasive and harmful species such as the Zebra Mussel.  These a fingernail-sized, black-and-white striped bivalve mollusks.  The Missouri Department of Conservation has some great information on this species and how to prevent the further spread of it.

History of the Zebra Mussel 

Zebra mussels came to North America in international shipping ballast water and were discovered in Lake St. Clair near Detroit in 1988.  Since then, they have spread rapidly throughout the Great Lakes and into the Mississippi River.  Zebra mussels were first reported in Missouri in 1991 in the Mississippi River.  It wasn't until after 1999 that they moved West of the Mississippi and were reported in the Missouri River and then the Meramec River.  It's suspected that barges originating in the Mississippi River transported attached adult zebra mussels upstream to these areas.  During the next several decades, zebra mussels could spread to other freshwater location in Missouri and throughout North America.

Problems Caused by Zebra Mussels

Female zebra mussels can produce as many as 1 million eggs per year.  These mussels then attach to any firm surface, clumping together to cover rock, metal, rubber, wood, docks, boat lifts at the Lake of the Ozarks, boat hulls, native mussels, crayfish and even aquatic plants.  Diving ducks, freshwater drum and other fish eat zebra mussels, but will not be able to control the large quantities of them on their own. The economic impact of this species is expected to be in the billions over the next decade.
Some problems these zebra mussels can cause include:
Photo from: www.lakenewsonline.com

  • Clogging Power Plants and Industrial and Public Drinking Water Intakes 
  • Foul Boat Hulls 
  • Decimate Populations of Native Freshwater Mussels
  • Impact Fisheries 
  • Disrupt Aquatic Ecosystems

Overland transport on boats, motors, trailers and aquatic plants poses on of the greatest risk for spreading zebra mussels.  Larger adult ones can live several days out of water in moist, shaded areas.  Boats that have been moored or stored in infested waters for more than a day or two may carry "hitchhiking" mussels attached to their hulls, engine drive units and anchor chains.  Zebra mussels can survive in boat bilge water, livewells, bait buckets and engine-cooling water systems, regardless of how long the boat has been in infested waters.  However, they will die very quickly when their hiding places are warmed in the sun or when they dry on the highway trip home.

Preventing the Spread of Zebra Mussels      

If you spend a lot of time on the water, whether boating, fishing, skiing, scuba-diving, sailing or canoeing, there are some important things you can do to prevent the transport of zebra mussels and other harmful species from lake or river to another.  In order to prevent the spread and to keep your own equipment from being fouled, please observe the following suggestions when transporting your boat from waterway to waterway:

  • Thoroughly inspect your boat's hull, drive unit, trim plates, trolling plates, prop guards, transducers, centerboards, rollers, axles, anchor, anchor rope and trailer.  Scrape off and trash any suspected mussels. 
  • Remove all water weeds hanging from the boat or trailer before leaving any body of water.
  • Drain water from the motor, livewell, bilge and transom wells, and any other water from your boat and equipment while on land before laving any body of water. 
  • Trash leftover bait on land, away from water, before leaving any body of water.  Leftover live aquatic bait that has come in contact with infested waters should not be taken to uninfested waters. 
  • When you get home, before launching your boat into uninfested waters, thoroughly rinse and dry the hull, drive unit, livewells (and livewell pumping system), bilge, trailer, bait buckets, engine cooling system and other boat parts that got wet while in infested waters.  Be sure to use a hard spraying garden hose. If your boat was in infested waters for a long period of time or you find attached adult mussels, use 104 degree water rather than cold water or tow the boat through a do-it-yourself carwash and use the high pressure hot water.  Do not use chlorine bleach or other environmentally unsound washing solutions. 
  • Boats, motors and trailers should be allowed to dry thoroughly in the sun for at least five days before boating again. 
  • In infested waters, the best way to keep a hull mussel-free is to run the boat frequently.  On boats that remain in the water, zebra mussels can attach to drive units, cover or enter water intakes and clog, overheat and destroy the engine. If possible, leave outboards or outdrives in the up position.  Periodically inspect hulls and drive units, and scrape free of mussels. Pump hot water through your engine's intake on a regular basis to prevent mussel growth inside the engine's cooling system.
  • Learn what these organisms look like (at least those you can see). If you suspect a new infestation of an exotic plant or animal, report it to your natural resource agency. 
  • Consult the agency for recommendations and permits before you try to control or eradicate an exotic "pest."  Remember, exotic "pest" species thrive on disturbance. Do-it-yourself control treatments often make matters worse and can harm native species.
For more information please visit: http://mdc.mo.gov/your-property/problem-plants-and-animals/invasive-animals/zebra-mussel-control

Summerset Boat Lifts is here for all your boat lifts needs! We pride ourselves in service, and it’s what sets us apart from everyone else. Summerset’s record of service after the sale is unparallel in the boat lift industry. We don’t just sell you a lift, we sell you our service.  Call our Lake of the Ozarks boat lift specialists today! Be surprised at how soon you may see a representative of Summerset Boat Lifts on your dock.  We want to earn your trust and your business!

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Tomorrow Marks the Beginning of Lake Race 2014!

Summerset Boat Lifts is ready for one of the most exciting events of the Season at the Lake of the Ozarks!  Lake Race 2014 festivities will begin tomorrow.  In addition to the race, there will be fun things to do all week long leading up to the big race!  Check out this video from last year's race and gear up for another exciting race this weekend!

2014 Schedule of Events

Tuesday, June 3 
  • 6 PM - Lake Race Volunteer Party at Beavers at the Dam
Wednesday, June 4
  • 5-8 PM - Lake Race Pontoon Party 
Thursday, June 5
  • 9 AM - Props & Hoses Fun Run Breakfast and Registration at Camden on the Lake
  • 6 PM - After Fun Run Party at Topsider 
  • 7 PM - lake Race VIP Sponsor and Racer Welcome at Topsider
Friday, June 6 
  • 11 AM - The Historic Bagnell Dam Strip closes for traffic and Vendor Villages Setup 
  • 6 PM - Lake Race Street Party on Historic Bagnell Dam Strip
Saturday, June 7
  • 9 AM - Crane startes operating at Beavers at the Dam Headquarters 
  • 10 AM - Racer Testing Starts 
  • 11:45 AM - Opening Ceremonies Begin 
  • Noon -  Racing Starts 
  • 5 PM - All Racing Concludes
  • 8 PM - Lake Race After Party at Beavers at the Dam with "Members Only" Band 
  • 9:15 PM - In Water Fireworks Show out from Beavers at the Dam 
  • 9 PM - Shady Gators Lake Race After Party featuring the "Rough Ryders" Band and the Miss Shady Gators Bikini Contest
Sunday, June 8
  • 10 AM - Crane Area Opens
  • 11:50 AM - National Anthem Begins 
  • Noon - Race Begins
  • 4 PM - Racing Concludes
  • 5:30 PM - Lake Race Awards Ceremony, After Race Party at Beavers at the Dam with DJ Brice / Spark Entertainment
Monday, June 9 
  • 6 PM - Lake Race Chopper Dropper at Dogwood Hills Golf Club 
  • Awards and Prize Announcement at Heroes Sports Saloon Following 

Join us for this annual event at the Lake of the Ozarks.  While you are here visiting your second home at the Lake of the Ozarks, be sure to check out your boat lift.  Call us for any boat lift servicing at the Lake of the Ozarks you may need.  Be surprised at how soon you may see a representative of Summerset Boat Lifts on your dock. We want to earn your trust and your business!

1165 Jeffries Road Osage Beach, MO  65065

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