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You’re getting ready for a big day on the water, and you go to get your boat out and realize something is wrong. This is every boater’s worst nightmare. And though we do everything we can to prevent this from happening, sometimes things just go wrong. 

The good news is that most problems can be solved with preventative maintenance and service from your local Action Water Sports. As boats get more advanced, how do you know what the warning signs are that indicate your boat is due for service? 

Keep reading to learn what warning signs indicate it’s time to get your boat to the service center. 

1. Check Engine Light 

The most obvious indication that your boat needs service is when the check engine light comes on. Newer boats will sometimes “throw codes” to let technicians know what the problem is right away. If either of these things happen to your boat, it’s time to get your boat into the service center. 

When this alarm is triggered, it warns that there is an issue that is impacting the engine in either a direct or indirect way. A common issue attributed to this warning is when the engine overheats.  

The engine overheats due to the failure of the cooling system. This can be caused by a variety of different reasons but the most common in boating is that the sea strainer is clogged with debris, a worn or damaged water impeller, or cracked hoses. All these issues can be serviced quickly and can prevent engine damage. Make sure to contact your local Action Water Sports when the check engine light is on. 

2. Unusual Sounds and Vibrations 

Another common warning that you should get your boat serviced is when you hear unusual sounds, or your boat is vibrating. Both are not common for a healthy boat so it’s best to get your boat checked out as soon as possible.  

Unusual sounds can be a source of several different issues. Some common problems are a loose belt or corroded or rusted parts in the engine. If you hear something out of the ordinary, be sure to get your boat in to be checked out.  

Vibrations are often an indication that something is out of alignment, or your propeller has been damaged at some point. On an inboard boat, this could also mean that your strut has been damaged as well.  

Due to age and gradual wear and tear, older boats tend to have a bit of vibration that will occur over a long period. A good way to differentiate between whether your boat has been damaged or is just old is to think about when your phone vibrates in your pocket. Any vibration that you feel should not be any stronger than when you feel your phone is vibrating in your pocket.  

Anything stronger than that needs to be serviced as soon as possible. It’s best to get your boat in quickly to reduce the risk of furthering any problems that may be occurring.  

3. Loss of Power 

Our third warning sign is a loss of power on your boat. If you’re driving your boat and it’s not accelerating or feels like it’s lacking its normal power, it’s time to get your boat to the service center.  

This could be the result of several different issues. Some common problems include problems with your fuel pump or a result of bad fuel. Keep an eye out for a lack of power in your engine that could indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. 

4. Washed Out Waves on a Surf Boat 

For those with wake boats that are equipped with a surf system, a washed-out wave can be an indication that your boat needs service. Wake systems are intricate and innovative systems that can lead to occasional problems.  

Some common problems include your tabs not deploying properly, ballast timers, or electronics not functioning properly. Since the majority of today’s wake boats have electronic systems, the software needs updates occasionally to stay up to date. 

If you notice any of these problems, it’s time to get your boat to your local Action Water Sports. The expert technicians will be able to diagnose the problem and get you back on the water in no time.  

5. Steering Problems

Another sign that means your boat needs to be serviced is when you notice the steering is off. This could mean that the wheel is difficult to turn, or the steering alignment is off-center. These problems will make driving the boat very difficult. 

It could be a result of a damaged rudder, your boat could need a new steering cable, or your boat may need the hydraulic steering fluid replaced. If you notice issues with your steering, it’s important to get your boat serviced soon. It could be very dangerous driving a boat that has faulty steering.  

Bonus Tip 

Don’t go yet, we have one last tip. For those who often tow their boats to the water, it’s important to watch out for signs indicating that your trailer may need service. Some quick warnings for boat trailers are that your trailer lights don’t work properly, the wheels feel hot to the touch after towing, and bald or cracked tires.  

Always inspect your trailer before getting on the road and after you get to your destination. This will help keep your trailer in good shape for all adventures to and from the water.  

Happy Boating 

None of us want to deal with any of these problems, unfortunately, it is part of boat ownership. When an issue arises, it’s best to get your boat into the service center as soon as possible.  

Addressing any issues as soon as they occur will help to keep your boat in healthy shape. It’s important to take care of your boat to help it perform the best for years to come. It will keep you and your family on the water and enjoying the boat for a long time. 

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