The Boat Doctor


Boat riding isnít a lot of fun when your craft porpoises constantly at high speeds. A question about fuel economy
4196 Views - Posted: July 05, 2011 at 11:28 am
With the cost of gasoline going up, fuel economy has become a regular topic in the e-mails that I receive. A recent question dealt with the addition of a hydrofoil fin on a readerís outboard motor. He wrote that he recently bought a 1997 model 19-foot bay boat with a V-6 150-horsepower engine. The person he bought the rig from had a whale tale installed on the engine, not because the boat had problems getting out of the water, but because he needed the boat to stay on plane at a slower speed while he was scouting for redfish.

Itís time to perform a safety gear tune-up
2620 Views - Posted: June 09, 2011 at 11:26 am
Summertime is here. The kids are out of school. Boaters all over are making plans to hook up their boats, load up the family and head out on the water for some special boating pleasure.

Do your homework before buying a used boat Do your homework before buying a used boat
6285 Views - Posted: May 02, 2011 at 9:55 am
Every used boat should be taken out for a test ride before being purchased, but there are several steps to take before then.

Water leaks in the bilge can be difficult to diagnose
6638 Views - Posted: April 01, 2011 at 9:14 am
I was recently contacted by a reader with a problem. He is concerned because every time he removes the drain plug from his boat after a typical fishing trip there is an excessive amount of water accumulation in the bilge of the boat. His 16-foot outboard boat is several years old, but it is still in good condition. He has inspected the underside of the hull, and there are no obvious leaks or holes in the boat.

Instrument panels not that tough to fix
2755 Views - Posted: March 21, 2011 at 8:33 am
I get a lot of requests for help with fuel- and ignition-related problems, but lately I have noticed an increased number of boats coming through my shop with problems with the instruments on the dashboard.

Ethanol problems are on the rise
6817 Views - Posted: January 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm
In June 2009, I wrote a column warning about the problems that many boaters were experiencing due to the use of ethanol-blended gasoline. I also warned that the EPA was entertaining a petition by the ethanol-lobbying group to increase the percentage ethanol blend from 10 to 15 percent.

Diagnose, donít assume, when problems arise
2774 Views - Posted: November 01, 2010 at 10:57 am
Sometimes when working on your engine, it can be very tempting to jump to conclusions without properly and completely diagnosing the problem.

A 10-micron water-separating fuel filter will stop water and dirt from reaching your engine. Not all fuel problems caused by ethanol
4472 Views - Posted: October 01, 2010 at 7:31 am
Last year, I wrote a column urging readers to avoid ethanol at all costs. Ethanol has caused many problems ranging from sludge in the fuel tank to deterioration of the fuel lines. It absorbs moisture from the air. That water mixes with the alcohol and the molecules that are formed separate from the gasoline and settle to the bottom of the tank.

Tropical cyclones are particularly unkind to boats. Hurricane plans should include your boat
2270 Views - Posted: August 02, 2010 at 12:07 pm
We are approaching the middle of another hurricane season. Have you finalized your plans in case a storm comes your way? Did you include your boat in that plan?

Don Dubuc and Wayne Zimmerman watch Andy and Lilli Johnston preparing to have their fish weighed at the 15th annual Rummel Alumni Fishing Rodeo. Oil spill could destroy your outboard
4459 Views - Posted: June 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm
We are right in the middle of our prime boating and fishing season, and I am getting calls and e-mails daily from concerned boaters who are not willing to just roll over and play dead. They want to go fishing and boating, but are concerned about protecting their boats and motors if they should encounter oil on the water.

The author's dad, William ďBillĒ Johnston, owned many race boats (circa 1952). Still lots for Louisiana boaters to do
3616 Views - Posted: June 01, 2010 at 4:45 pm
I remember looking through some old photographs that my mother had when I found one of my mother and dad sitting in one of dadís race boats. The third person in the boat was me. I was just a little over 1 year old. I was enjoying my first boat ride when the photo was taken.

The time spent with the engine running during a typical fishing trip is not enough to have much of an impact on trolling-motor batteries when using a DC alternator charger. Are DC alternator chargers worth the money?
5221 Views - Posted: April 29, 2010 at 12:59 pm
I recently received an e-mail from a reader asking if I could help identify which wire is the ignition wire for his 1999 outboard motor. He stated that he was considering hooking up an onboard DC alternator charger. The power for this unit is supposed to be supplied by the motorís ignition wire so that the charger is turned on whenever the key is on.

Take a few minutes to do a thorough check of your boat, and youíll have a much more enjoyable summer. The doctor orders a spring check-up
2631 Views - Posted: March 30, 2010 at 3:52 pm
Wow, what a winter we had! We saw record rainfall totals, cold temperatures, high winds and tides so low that many waterways were reduced to mud flats.

The research you do before arriving at a boat show will pay dividends by ensuring you get the boat that suits your wants and needs at a fair price. Shows offer tremendous opportunities
2368 Views - Posted: March 01, 2010 at 1:28 pm
It seems that the boating season is getting off to a slow start this year. I wonder if it has something to do with a certain football team winning the Super Bowl.

Your duck boat treated you well this year. Will you return the favor? Take steps before storing duck boats
4902 Views - Posted: February 01, 2010 at 2:24 pm
Duck season has come to an end. What will you do with your duck boat now?

Hull design dictates propeller type
5471 Views - Posted: December 02, 2009 at 9:59 am
The design of your boatís bottom will affect the type of propeller you will need. In the simplest of terms, there are two hull designs: displacement and planing.