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What is that noise?! Troubleshooting boat problems

July 1st, 2018

boatcoach 227x300 What is that noise?! Troubleshooting boat problemsBy the Boat Coach

Have you ever wondered what that strange new noise might be while starting up the engine or underway? We all have. How to deal that situation starts with really paying attention and recognizing what are normal sounds on your boat.

Let’s start the engine: be sure that the gear shift is in neutral (neither forward or aft), run the blower to evacuate the engine room of fumes, then turn the key to START. Some engines will need a bit of throttle to start and then quickly back to idle. So far, so good. Now, listen: did anything sound out of place? Shut down and start again if you need to. What noise is different that the last time you started the engine? Any screeching or knocking? While still tied to the dock, or anchored, engage forward gear/neutral/reverse-about 5 seconds each to confirm each gear is working properly.

If a strange noise continues, it’s time to look in the area that it seems the noise is coming from. Check the engine room, exhaust area or access other areas as required. Run through the routine again; watch the prop shaft while turning and listen to the noise until the general area may be identified. It also helps to have assistance when troubleshooting. Often it takes two persons; one to operate the controls up top and someone in the area of noises to find a problem.

It is also time to inspect anything that can be accessed. Check a list of items from loose hose clamps, cooling water strainers and fluid levels in the engine and transmission. All are easy to do once you familiarize yourself on how it is done. Do the instruments on the dash actually show the conditions at the equipment? These should be adjusted to display the accurate indications.

If all else fails, The Boat Coach is here to help. Call or text Tom the Boat Coach at 713-254-3105


Meet Tom, The Boat Coach

April 30th, 2018

boatcoach 227x300 Meet Tom, The Boat CoachMy first encounter to boating was being drug up and down the San Bernard River near Churchill bridge behind a Yellow Jacket 15’ runabout trying to mount the skis – yes, two skis.

I graduated to boat building during 11th grade summer break when my best friend and I decided to create a sailboat with no plans or even pictures. Remarkably, it turned out to look about right for a Laser.  The designer, my buddy, was a little ahead of his time and went on to graduate UT as an aeronautical engineer and a career at NASA

I was addicted, and from then on I cannot remember ever not owning at least one boat. There was always something to be installed, repaired or improved on any boat I owned. My passion crowded the need for 100% adherence to my real job. But it was easier when I bought a Offshore 27 Choey Lee sloop, had it trucked into Houston and planted in my driveway for a major refit, including refreshing the mast and rigging.

Can you imagine the West University ordinance police if that was tried now! But still it was not the boat I had in mind for what I had in mind.

I had upgraded to a 40’ Valiant and proposed to my girlfriend that we take off and spend a year cruising the Caribbean. She said ‘let’s go!’ and off we sailed for a year across the Gulf, the Keys, Bahamas, DR, Virgins and Windwards and Leewards to the Grenadines. 

When you’re out on a trip like that, you might need to know how to fix whatever went wrong.      

For boat consulting, call Tom at 713-254-3105. First 12 callers to make an appointment get one hour free.