Yacht Charterer’s Guide To DIY Fixes Before Calling The Charter Tech

Bareboat Charterers can fix issues aboard before calling the charter mechanicThings TO Do Before Calling The Charter Mechanic

Let’s face it, things go wrong on boats and charter boats are no exception. You may charter a bareboat in perfect working order from the charter company, but eventually something may go wrong. Things like errant alarms, a water pump running non-stop, or an outboard engine cutting out suddenly can make your holiday very unpleasant for all on board. More often than not, these seemingly “huge problems” are really minor issues that, with just a little know-how and a bit of effort, can be fixed in no time. Not only will the charter mechanics love you for not wasting their time with trivial adjustments, but it will save you and your crew time and discomfort. As a certified charter captain, you should be able to do minor repairs, but there is no way to have all the knowledge and experience to cover every matter than can arise while on board. Charter Advisors put together a “Fix It” list of common problems with yachts and how to troubleshoot and repair them. There is usually a simple solution! Below is an excerpt from the article Charter Advisors website. They have some great advice and reviews to help you make a good choice of bareboat and charter company.

Dinghy Outboard Suddenly Stops

Being dead in the water can be a spooky subject for some. Driving along, out in the middle of nowhere (or in the middle of the night in our case) and suddenly the outboard stops (hope you brought the oars!). Now, I am no outboard tech, but I can share with you what I’ve encountered and what has worked for me and the Charter Advisors crew when we’ve had outboards die on us. If yours should suddenly stop, try these simple solutions before digging out the innards of the motor.

  1. Check to be sure you have fuel. You’d be surprised how many dinghies I’ve towed to the dock after they ran out of gas.
  2. If you do have fuel, be sure it’s getting to the outboard. Check the clip at the end of the gasoline where it meets the gas tank. This line can get loose if the gas tank can slide around on the bottom of the dinghy. Its position in the bottom of the boat near people’s feet can also be a factor. I had visitors come aboard one day and no matter how many times I asked, they used the gas tank like a step to get in and out of the dinghy. The gas line loosened up and un-clipped slightly (though it wasn’t apparent by looking at it). We got left high and dry on our way back from Saba Rock late one night. Doing a “hand check” of the gas line connections produced an audible “click” as the line re-seated when pressed. A couple of pulls on the cord and the engine started again like a champ.
  3. If all looks OK, check the dinghy key. Be sure it’s pressed in all the way. If the “clip” on the dinghy key looks thin or worn, try pulling up on the “knob” the key sides under and starting the engine.
  4. What about if the engine starts the first time but won’t start a second time? If you should run into this one, check the engine fuse. From time to time a fuse makes it in there with a “lower than optimal” amp rating. It will start the engine, but blow out in the process. Replace the fuse with proper size from the spare parts drawer and your good to go. If you have no spare fuses aboard you can bridged the blown one by wrapping it in tinfoil and snapping it back in place. She’ll start right up! (be sure to tell the charter company to replace the fuse.)
  5. This last one isn’t a solution but it’s a way to keep from having a problem in the first place. If you’re having trouble starting the engine, resist the urge to pump the ball in the fuel line. It’s a really good way to flood the engine. Instead pull the choke. The only time you should need to prime the engine with the ball pump is when you first hook up the fuel tank.

If none of these help, break out the oars and paddling songs!


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