Got motor trouble? I can help

Bayou Black dodged destruction when Hurricane Rita grazed the coast, and there are big stringers of bass waiting to be caught this spring.

Hello, and welcome to all the readers of Louisiana Sportsman magazine. For those of you who don’t know me, I was first christened with the name “The Boat Doctor” way back in 1983 when I was a guest on the WWL outdoors radio program. The host referred to me as “The Boat Doctor” because I was going to be making house calls to diagnose and cure whatever ailed the listeners’ outboard motors.

Since then, I have been a regular guest of the outdoors program on WWL. I have also appeared on Cox Cable’s Outdoors Louisiana Style television program, and have written articles for many outdoor publications.

My dad first introduced me to the world of outboard motor mechanics in 1965. He owned and operated the family business, Big M Marine, where I got my first experience working on outboards.

In my second summer of work, I was given three junk Mercury Mark 78 engines, all in need of major repairs. I was instructed to disassemble all three, clean and inspect all parts and build one good engine from that pile of scrap. I will never forget the sense of pride and accomplishment that I felt the moment I turned the key, and that engine roared to life.

I will always be grateful to people like you, the boating public, for supporting me and allowing me to pursue my trade, which I love so much. This is why I first got involved with WWL radio, and why I continue to work with radio, television and print media.

I want to give back to the boating public. I want to help all outdoorsmen to enjoy their boats and the water, and hopefully they will help spread the word that boating is fun.

I am very pleased to announce that I will be writing monthly articles for Louisiana Sportsman on maintenance and upkeep of your boats and motors. Some articles will cover timely topics such as shopping for a new boat or choosing a pre-owned vessel.

From time to time I may discover new products, and I will write about them. However, the most important topic I can ever hope to cover is diagnosing and helping to cure whatever ails your boat or motor.

I would encourage everyone who may be experiencing problems with or have questions about their boat, motor and/or trailer to e-mail me at Give me a detailed description of your problem, and I will try to assist you in finding and curing the trouble.

I will do my best to respond to all e-mails. Some of those e-mails may be used as topics for future articles. Don’t worry, I always change the names to protect the innocent whenever I publish readers’ questions.

Due to Katrina and Rita, many of you have not used your boats in the last several months. Many times lack of use can cause problems for your outboard motor. If you haven’t run your engine lately, then take the time to pull the boat out of the garage, hook the motor up to the garden hose and crank it up. Allow your engine to run for 15 to 20 minutes.

I highly recommend doing this at least once a month. This will keep your engine’s fuel system clean and all of the internal engine parts freshly lubricated. It is a great way to extend the life of your engine.

Have a happy and safe boating year. Hopefully we’ll get to meet on the water some day soon.