Outboard motor problem solved!

July 12, 2012

Faith Outdoors

I know this sounds strange, but I put my fishing boat in the water for the first time this season just the other day. On Monday evening, I took it to Lake Johanna in Arden Hills to make sure everything was running OK. Our family is going up north to the Brainerd area on July 22 for a week, so it’s always nice to check things out before a trip.

As I was backing the trailer into the water, I thought of something that needed to be done and hit the brake. With all of the straps unfastened, the back end of the boat dropped down and the bottom of the motor hit the concrete ramp.

Not good. Not good at all. Before even looking, I knew what I would  discover – a bent skeg. This is the triangular shaped fin at the very bottom of the motor, directly in front of the propeller.

The last time my skeg got bent, I had to pay $140 to get it fixed. Needless to say, I was not happy. In fact, today I went to confession to ask God’s forgiveness for the vocabulary I used after the mishap.

Despite the problem, I knew I could still drive the boat, so I dropped it in the water and tried to start it. It took a while, but I finally got it going. As I motored out on the lake with my son, William, and his friend, I noticed the boat pulling noticeably to the right. This is the classic symptom of a bent skeg.

So, that night, I went online to find a repair shop. I had been to one in Brooklyn Park for the first repair, but that’s a long ways, and it’s only open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Very inconvenient for me. It would mean no option of going on evenings or weekends.

Further searching produced a place called Propulsion, Inc. in Hudson, Wis. It’s open earlier in the morning (8 a.m.), plus on Saturdays. I called and talked to Dan Cremin. He was very helpful, and said I could come in the next morning and the shop mechanics could squeeze me in. He thought there was a good chance they could pound the skeg back straight again.

Excellent! I arrived there at 8:30 yesterday morning, and Dan got me in right away. In about 15 minutes, the job was done. And, here’s the best part – it only cost $15.

Needless to say, I was thrilled. This is a shop I can highly recommend. Dan did a great job of customer service, and I thanked him profusely.

He seemed a bit surprised by my praise.

“Usually, people don’t like to see us,” he said. They come in angry because they damaged their prop or lower unit and aren’t happy about paying an unexpected sum of money to fix the problem.

I get that. I wasn’t happy when I first bent the skeg, but I walked away satisfied because I knew I would have had to pay a lot more if the skeg had cracked while the mechanic was pounding on it. Dan had warned me that this could happen.

Thankfully, it didn’t. Now, I have a boat that’s in good working order, and a soul that’s clean, thanks to a priest I had lunch with today who was gracious enough to hear my confession.

Fortunately, there is no charge to straighten a bent soul.


, , ,

About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek