Boating Basics

An unhappy angler that can't get out due to boat problems

A stitch in time saves nine, goes the saying, and those true words popped into my mind a few decades ago.  I had pulled over into a rest area because my trailer tire had a flat.  Not a problem, I thought, for I had everything I needed to fix the flat.  So I put the truck in gear, applied the emergency brake, chocked the tires and got after it.  I’d be splashing at the ramp a few minutes behind schedule without a care in the world.

As weather can turn foul so can my mood.  The turn came when I popped the first lug nut, I mean I broke it clear off.  I then popped off the second, and then third.  I don’t have super-human strength, and the corrosion just got the better of the lugs is all.  A blow torch would have loosened ‘em up, but I didn’t know that at the time.  I did not hit the water and instead spent the entire day fixing the flat.

As I was whining about it to a buddy he tossed me a can of plumber’s anti-seize compound which is used to keep threads from rusting or corroding.  I coated the new threads, added the lugs, and when I changed the tires they came undone in record time.  Here are a few other common boating issues that can save time and, more importantly, frustration.

1. Greased hubs.  It takes minutes and a few pennies of grease, but if you don’t keep your hubs fully greased they’ll allow water to enter and you’ll have a problem on your hands.

2. Proper tire pressure.  Keep a tire gauge in your truck and check your tires periodically.  Trailers ride more smoothly, there is less tire wear when they’re running at the same Pounds per Square Inch (PSI), and it’s easier to swing by a gas station than have to fix a tire that blew out.

3. Rabbit Ears.  Flushing an engine, particularly if you’re running in the salt, take 5 minutes.  Use a pair of Rabbit Ears for two stroke engines and attach the hose directly to the flush valve on a four stroke engines.

4. Running lights.  Simple corrosion often times renders trailer lights inoperable.  Use a wire brush to remove the external corrosion and then spray with a lubricant.

5. Dinged props.  Make sure your prop blades aren’t dinged and if so get ‘em fixed.  Your lower unit will thank you.

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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at