July 13, 2016

Five Tips to Making Boating Less Expensive

Boat is not a word, but an acronym for "Break Out Another Thousand." Read these tips and your wallet will appreciate it.

A man much smarter than me once spoke of the most important thing we all have. He said it wasn't money, even though money is nice, but time.

We can always make more money, but we can't change how much time we have here on this Earth. He said it's up to us to decide what we are going to do with that time.

I don't believe my time should be spent unnecessarily working on the boat.

In fact, I think my time is best spent fishing, so when I rebuilt my boat I was sure to build everything out as ruggedly as possible. Because of this and good maintenance intervals I never have to worry about my boat performing when it's time to fish.

Isn't that great?

Tips to make boating less expensive:

Tip 1: Treat that lower unit

Take a minute to check your lower unit oil. If it looks anything other than clean and clear then chances are you have a leaking seal.

If you continue to fish with a leaking lower unit it will, as per Murphy's Law, explode into tiny pieces...most likely deep inside the marsh where no one can reach you.

Lower Unit Oil Check

If it isn't clean then chances are you have a much larger problem on your hands.

While you are at it, spin the prop and see if it is wobbling at all. If it is, you may have a bent prop shaft.

Tip 2: Do your electrical wiring right (the first time)

There is nothing worse than having electrical problems on a boat, especially when you are out in the middle of nowhere. You want to keep your electrical system dry and corrosion free.

If not, then you will spend your fishing trip isolating a bad ground so you can get home safely.

Do this by ventilating closed areas of the boat so mildew doesn't form. Putting a light coat of Corrosion-X on all connections is a great way to keep them from corroding.

Just be sure to use the variant that is safe for electrical connections.


The can on the right is good for everything but electronics. Use the red can for electrical applications.

I take this tip a step further by using breakers, not fuses, for my accessory panel and then keeping spare fuses for any I do use aboard my boat.

Additionally, I use terminals with heat shrink so as little metal as possible is exposed to the elements.

Heat Shrink Connectors

Use marine-grade wiring and heat shrink connectors to keep your electrical headaches to a minimum.

Tip 3: Nyloc like it is 1999

My greatest pet peeve with previous boats I owned were the screws that would inevitably rattle loose. When you take a boat across rough water and give it a good beating things will rattle apart.

I counter this by installing Nyloc nuts. They don't come loose with vibration. Needless to say, they are stainless steel! This is more expensive but pays for itself in the long term.

Nyloc Stainless Steel Nut

They are more expensive but will never rattle loose when you need them most.

Tip 4: Freshwater rinse after every trip

It seems obvious, but too many people put their boat on the trailer (or in the slip) and walk inside to rest and relax after a hard day of fishing. The time right after a fishing trip is when you want to give the boat a good rinsing.

The inshore waters of Louisiana are tough on a boat and will eat away at critical hardware and connections while you sleep.

Freshwater Rinse

Louisiana's waters are harsh. They will corrode and deteriorate your boat in the most critical places. Combat this with a freshwater rinse after each trip.

Tip 5: Cover her up

The worst thing to happen to a boat is to be left alone. When a boat is not used and left exposed to the elements different components can unnecessarily become damaged.

Invest in a decent cover for your console and motor, at the bare minimum, and protect your inshore fishing investment.

Center Console Cover

Covering up controls, switches and electrical connections is key to protect the boat while it is stored. Boats tend to fall apart when not properly stored.

Do you have a tip for making boating less expensive? Then head on over to our forum, Louisiana Fishing Reports, and let us know what works for you to keep from breaking out another thousand.

Marine Breakers and Switches

Don't worry what the "Eject" button is for. Just understand that using breakers is the way to go over using fuses.

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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