Spring will be here before you know it, and with that will come some of the best fishing of the year. You want your boat ready when the time is right – not after. Here’s three reasons why you should get your boat serviced now.

Manning Turner of Manning’s Boat Service (843-485-7080) in Pawleys Island said the number one reason to get your boat’s routine maintenance done right now is to beat the crowd. It never fails, he said, that as soon as the weather turns, he gets a rush of customers all at once, creating a backlog of work and leaving some anglers waiting to hit the water.

“As soon as that first true spring weekend hits, that’s when everyone wants to hit the water. Routine maintenance is something you should do every year, but the earlier you do it, the earlier you’re ready to hit the water instead of being in line for service,” he said.

Turner said that outboard manufacturers suggest maintenance on filters and other items should be done annually. They also suggest replacing your water pump and batteries every three years, but. He agrees.

“If it’s been three years since you’ve had that done, you need to get that taken care of. You don’t want your boat full of people when you find out you need a new battery or a new water pump,” he said. 

John Long of East Columbia Sport Shop agrees with Turner, and said another reason to get your boat in the shop now is because a lot can happen to an outboard that has been sitting up for months during the winter.

“Nothing is worse for an outboard than to have it sitting idle for months. Insects and animals can build nests inside engine cowlings that can cause all sorts of damage. Rubber hoses, seals, or grommets can also get hard and brittle. These are simple fixes that can be performed before you get on the water, but once on the water, they turn into big problems if not dealt with beforehand,” he said.

Turner and Long both agree that the third reason to have your outboard serviced now is simply having peace of mind as the time comes to get out on the water. Just knowing everything has been checked out, even if no repairs were necessary, will help make your days on the water more enjoyable.

“You can’t put a price tag on the feeling of confidence that when you turn your key or pull your starter cord, the outboard is going to crank,” said Long.