Nov 8, 2018

Engine ReplacementA recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out there, including: Websites showing repairs, YouTube tutorials, Instagram pages and snapchat streams – let alone books, magazines, service manuals, and years of practical experience – how does a boat owner know which method(s) are ‘right’, who to trust, and who to hire to do the job? In short: How do you find and select a contractor?

Unfortunately, most people are forced to hire a contractor due to a circumstance where something has broken or failed, or the task is simply beyond the boat owner’s skills or knowledge. This could include woodwork, fiberglass, electrical, plumbing or mechanical (engine) repairs. It is often a time of uncertainly, angst and anxiety. The overriding concerns are almost always: Who will I find to fix this? And - How much will it cost?

So – lets figure this out. Start with:

Where do you find a contractor?

1) Dealers and recommended installers. If you have a specific product, you should look to have it serviced by a contractor who deals in this type of equipment. They will have access to the correct service information, original/correct replacement parts, and the specialty tools necessary to complete certain tasks (that not every contractor has access to).

2) Insurance company referrals. Your insurance company may be able to connect you with a reputable contractor that they recommend. An insurance referral, if you’re able to get one, is generally a reliable one.

3) Internet search. There’s a catch: You’ll miss out on a lot of contractors. We seem to be so busy doing work, that a lot of us haven’t spent the time or energy in focusing on digital marking and search engine optimization.

4) Ask your neighbors. Try to come up with a list of contractors who work at your marina or yacht club. The bonus: you’ll be in touch with contractors who are familiar with your club/marina, and who you know are willing to work there.

5) Message boards at Marinas/yacht clubs and at marine stores – many stores, clubs and marinas have bulletin boards for contractors to post ads or leave business cards
6) Boat and trade shows: Meet contractors in person and talk about your job one-on-one!

Hull repairHopefully this list will allow you to find a contractor. So, what questions should you ask? Here’s a brief list:

Is the contractor you’re hiring competent to perform the task? Do they have knowledge of the area that you require work to be done?

Does the contractor have the necessary resources? Access to specialty tools or equipment, manufacturer specific parts, and wholesale pricing on supplies and materials?

Is the contractor willing to provide references, and to show photos of past work?

Is the contractor insured?

What methods of payment does the contractor accept? Credit cards, e-transfers, cheques, cash? Do they propose a payment schedule?

Does the contractor provide a written estimate? What are the terms and conditions (if any), and what are your rights and responsibilities (as the boat owner)?

Now that you have information, try to compare apples-to-apples. The best price may not always be the best deal. Other factors are just as important as price:

Does the timing of the work (and of payment) suit your needs?

Will the quality of the finished product meet your needs?

Is the contractor reliable (through references and photos)?

In the case of a dispute, problem, damage, accident, break, or a larger problem discovered in the course of work: Do you have a backup plan? Will the contractor work with you to solve any issues that arise? Will your insurance company be able to work with the contractor if issues are escalated?

A final note: I hear from many new customers “I’m glad I found you, marine mechanics are tough to find!”

The articles that I have read in recent years all agree: The marine industry is shrinking, not growing – and contractors are becoming more difficult to find. Those that can be found (especially sole-proprietors) are often busy and hard to get ahold of. Some patience and persistence may be necessary from your end to find and hire the right contractor for you.

Contractors in the marine industry come in all shapes and sizes: Some are ‘backyard mechanics’ that work out of the back of their trucks part-time. Others run multi-million dollar yards. And many fall between the two spectrums. It’s important to find the ‘right’ type of contractor to fit your needs, project, timeline and budget. But it’s also important to do your due diligence before money changes hands, to ensure that your project is completed to your expectations.

 

Andrew McDonaldAndrew McDonald is the owner of Lakeside Marine Services – a boat repair/maintenance firm based in Toronto. Andrew has worked in the marine industry for 12 years and is a graduate of the Georgian College ‘Mechanical Techniques - Marine Engine Mechanic’ program.

Questions or comments for Andrew? Email him directly via: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Related Articles
Current
  • 21 August 2019
  • By Ethan

Ask Andrew: Cruise time

Even the hardest working boat tech advisors deserve some time off but Andrew will be back at his keyboard for our September issue.. Questions about boat maintenance? Just send them along to the...

Lifestyle

  • Prev
I am new to boating. Bought a 2019 Ranger Tug in April followed by taking a short boating course ...
Arie and Maribeth sent us this photo from their honeymoon departing Killarney…I think they were in ...
This shot was taken last week by Jessica Lee, a freelance photography pro, Albacore racer and part ...
On a sunny and windless day we led Alicia and another sailboat into New York Harbour. There were ...
It was a trip 2 or 3 years ago, and all 4 boats traveled up to the Killarney area in a ...
My name is Alexandrine GOVAN, mother of a 5 years old girl and I found your contact on internet. ...
John Booth, who passed away just a few weeks ago was one of the most amazingly gifted and ...
We left Vero Beach on Saturday morning with Alicia, a boat from Sweden, following close behind. The ...
At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...
ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1The Oceanis official US debut will be at the upcoming Newport International Boat Show in September and will be featured at the United States Sailboat show in Annapolis in October.

With an overall size under 30 feet and a light displacement of less than 8,805 lbs., the Oceanis is easily trailerable without a wide load permit. If you prefer to access your sailing grounds by canals and rivers, the lifting keel and rotating mast open a world of endless possibilities. Perfect for sailing on lakes or for coastal hopping, this new Oceanis is, nevertheless, a robust category B sailing yacht, fitted for offshore sailing. The smallest of the range offers the biggest choice of programs! 

Read more about the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1............................

 

Grady White Freedom 235 Dual ConsoleBy Jill Snider

Once again, I had the pleasure of joining CY’s test guru Andy Adams on a boat review. This time, out on Georgian Bay, we put the Grady White Freedom 235 Dual Console to the test. There are so many great things to tell you about this classic beauty.

Andy
If I were required to compare Grady White’s Freedom 235 Dual Console to an animal, I would tell you that she has the character of a Labrador Retriever. Here are a few reasons why...

Read More about the Grady White Freedom 235 Dual Console......................

Destinations

  • Prev
Provincial Boat Havens are those special places to drop anchor in British Columbia’s West Coast and ...
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...
If you haven’t cruised the Rideau Canal before, you have missed a special treat and even if you ...
At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...


Coal Harbour MarinaVancouver is ranked one of the most liveable cities in the world. You can explore much of the cityscape by water and moor at several marinas. The city offers the marine visitor a panoply of fine dining, waterside pubs, shopping and cultural amenities.

English Bay and False Creek, one of the choice urban boating destinations in North America, bring you into the heart of the city. Good moorage and anchorages are available and there is lots happening both on the water and all along the shoreline.

 

 

Read more about Vancouver...........

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Seabin device part of the Oak Bay Marine Group trial, has had promising results so far while ...
When I took the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV down to Wednesday night racing, the people that came over ...
Protecting your boat from scratches and dents isn’t always easy. That’s why the Big Bumper Company ...
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Forespar has just introduced a new smaller size version of their ...
As boaters we all have a very unique connection to the water and all the opportunities it presents. ...
Edited by the Quebec Marine Association under the direction of L'Escale Nautique (producer of the ...
Blue Guard has announced the general availability of the BG-One, a solid-state bilge pump switch, ...
With the introduction of the Ion Power Basic, a safe Lithium Ion battery formulated with Lithium, ...
Finding a car brand that you enjoy while it does what you need can be tough, as they can be ...
Yikes! No boat refrigeration? You’ve Got to be Kidding me!! But then again, true campers don’t use ...