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Marine News from the Great Lakes

BOATING UPGRADES ON A BUDGET

Published: Thursday, October 12, 2017
By: John Tiger

So, while the news says the current state of the economy is improving, you’re still in no position to buy a new rig? Many are in the same boat. Even if you’re doing okay, you might tend to be more cautious about your lifestyle, your spending habits, and yes, even your favorite passions… boating and fishing.

While the times may call for caution, the current state of the economy can’t ruin everyone’s fun. As this is written, summer is nearly over once again, gas prices are still pretty low, and it would be a shame to let the fall season go by without enjoying your boat some more. Life’s too short to let the beauty and warmth of the late summer and fall fishing and boating season to go by without getting out on the water.

FUN ON A BUDGET

Some are in a good position to buy a new boat this year. Though yours truly isn’t in that space, I applaud those of you who are, and who are stepping up to the plate to order a new rig, full speed ahead. To you, I say, thank you for helping to keep our small segment of the market going, helping to keep boatbuilders going, making profits, and keeping their employees busy. It’s a win-win all ‘round; you get a brand-new rig to enjoy and the industry keeps moving forward.

For those not in the market for a new rig, maybe it’s time for an upgrade. Trading up, even if it’s used, might be just the ticket in your price range. Upgrading to a new engine might be where it’s at for your wallet, or even a good used powerplant that has a little more go for your hull could put a grin on your face this summer.

For many, even a new engine or hull is out of the question. Nothing wrong with that; if your rig is performing well and you still want the satisfaction of a few changes and upgrades, there’s plenty to do on a budget that’s enjoyable. Performance upgrades like jack plates, better propellers, and gearcase modifications are always worthy investments, and they bring speed and acceleration rewards without breaking the bank. Trailers are always in need of improvements. Upgrading to a set of new LED lights, for example, will not only make the trailer safer and more visible on the road, but the entire conversion can be done in an afternoon for less than a hundred bucks. Adding a spare tire and mount, a new winch and strap, bolt-on retractable stainless tiedowns, or even a pivoting tongue are all inexpensive mods that most boatowners can do with hand tools on a weekend afternoon.

Going a bit deeper, for those who have older hulls, retrofitting and restoring are also inexpensive upgrades that can be done with little cash outlay and some elbow grease. Replacing worn and faded carpet, swapping old and decayed seats with new ones, re-fitting the dash with new gauges, or replacing worn-out steering with a new hydraulic system are all great ideas for making an older boat seem newer, at least for a season or two.

GET OUT AND ENJOY

At the very least, even if you don’t plan to work on the boat this season, get out and enjoy it. Investing in the market or real estate isn’t in the cards for many, but a dozen days on the water in the heart of fall fishing season can be a great investment in “your time” as well as treasured family and buddy time. Time served on the water is an investment that will pay big dividends for your peace of mind, and it will surely take your mind off the everyday “same ol,’ same ol.’ Go boating!


tags: Do It Yourself (DIY), Electronics

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