Getting Customers Boats Ready for the Water


For most of us in the USA, the first day of Spring is a steppingstone to warm weather. We get some nice days, and we get some not so nice… Use the nice days to get a head start on the boating season! This month we are going to focus on some things dealers can offer as a service.

  1. Flooring. There are countless pontoons in this country that are still rolling with carpet. Carpet was the only game in town for decades, but now, much like your old flip phone, it needs to go. It’s the single best improvement a customer can make to their aging boat. A sparkling new G-Floor will make their boat look beautiful, add value to it, and reduce maintenance for years to come. If you are a marine repair shop, and don’t offer this service, you might consider offering a re-flooring service. Once you get the process dialed in, it can be a nice source of additional revenue.
  2. Clean the pontoons. Over time, the aluminum on pontoons tends to dull. If your customers are like me and leave their boat in the water all summer, there is a lot of marine build up below the waterline. You can bring a nice shine back to their grimy toons with a few hours of labor and the right cleaning products. There are several products, such as Toon-Brite or Star Brite aluminum cleaner, that will ease the process. I often hear friends complain about the marine growth on their pontoons. As a dealer, this is an easy service to provide increased revenue.
  3. Treat your seats. I am a big fan of regular vinyl treatment. Now is the time to give your customers seats a thorough cleaning followed by some vinyl protectant. I have always had great luck cleaning and treating with the various 303 products. Personally, I stay away from Magic Erasers. I’ve heard too many stories. There are some great products on the market for removing mildew that has penetrated the vinyl. I know several people who swear by Miracle Mist. Take care of their vinyl seats and they will last a long time.
  4. Look at their ropes and fenders – It always drives me crazy to see boats with old or mismatching ropes and fenders. If their ropes are faded, mismatched, or look like a beaver chewed on them, it’s time to replace them! Fenders, much like the ropes, begin to show their age over time. Replacing them is easy and will really improve the look of the boat.
  5. Do a safety equipment check – Is the fire extinguisher fully charged? Is there an adequate number of life vests? Do the lights and horn work? Now is time to replace or repair any of these items.
  6. Is the gas good? – It is not uncommon to carry over some gas from season to season. Hopefully, you planned ahead and treated your gas with a fuel stabilizer. If they forgot to do this, you might want to consider disposing of the fuel in their tank. If so, make sure you use a pump or siphon that is designed to handle gas. In my area, I can take old gas to the county Hazmat disposal site, and they will take the gas free of charge. Bad gas is a huge cause of engine issues. Do your customer a favor and always make sure they are burning good gas.
  7. Service the engine – If didn’t provide engine service over the winter, now is the time to do it. With outboard engines, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on servicing. Changing oil and changing the water pump are the best ways to ensure a long motor life and smooth summer operations. I change the oil in my motors every year and replace the water pump every other year. Better safe than sorry!
  8. Give it a good wash – The last thing I like to do before launching is to give the boat a good cleaning. I pull everything out from under the seats and wipe out this area. I also like to hand wash the inside and the outside of the fencing using a mild soap mix. I’m a believer in waxing the outside of the fencing. I use a marine specific wax. If the boat has vinyl decals, you might verify that the wax will not damage the decals.

Do this stuff in early Spring and get ready for a busy boating season!