Take steps before storing duck boats

Duck season has come to an end. What will you do with your duck boat now?

Each year beginning in September right before teal season opens, my phone starts ringing off the hook with hunters who have simply parked their mud boats at the end of the duck season and forgotten about them. Teal season is about to open, they drag the boat out of storage and they just cannot figure out why their motor won’t start.

Mud motors are just like outboard motors. If you do not use them for several months, there are all kinds of problems that can develop.

Fuel evaporates from the carburetor. Varnish and gum clog up the jets or possibly cause the fuel float to stick and the carburetor floods. Fuel in the gas tank becomes stale, and the octane level drops to a dangerous level. Ethanol fuel absorbs water from the air and deposits that water in the bottom of the gas tank. Valves stick so that engines cannot develop full compression. Humidity can attack moving parts such as throttle linkage, governor controls and steering swivel housings. […]


Don’t forget winter preparations

As we move into the colder months of the year, you may be questioning whether or not you should winterize your boat. In Louisiana, our winters tend to be mild compared to our neighbors in the northern half of the country. Up north the temperature drops so much that most of the lakes and rivers turn to ice. They have no choice but to remove their boats from the water and basically park them until springtime arrives. […]


A question about fuel economy

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 reader’s 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. […]


Water leaks in the bilge can be difficult to diagnose

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. […]


Ethanol problems are on the rise

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. […]


Not all fuel problems caused by ethanol

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. […]


Oil spill could destroy your outboard

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. […]


Still lots for Louisiana boaters to do

I remember looking through some old photographs that my mother had when I found one of my mother and dad sitting in one of dad’s 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. […]


Are DC alternator chargers worth the money?

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 motor’s ignition wire so that the charger is turned on whenever the key is on. […]