If there’s anything we can all agree on, it’s the fact that the current political season is chock-full of lies and deception. And unfortunately, there are also plenty of lies out there when it comes to boats. Chances are, at one time or another someone told you one of these three falsehoods; let’s lay them to rest, right now.
Lie #1: The best way to connect two wires on a boat is by soldering. This claim may have some merit on dry land, but not on a boat. The reason is vibrations; while solder does make a strong connection, it also makes a brittle one. No big deal, when that connection is hanging behind drywall or connected to a light fixture in your living room ceiling. But on a boat, the constant movement is going to cause the solder to break sooner rather than later. For this reason, crimp connections are always superior in the marine world.
Lie #2: Stainless-steel props are better than aluminum props. When it comes to performance, yes, stainless props will add a MPH or two to cruise and top-end. But there are times when aluminum is the “better” choice. Aluminum gives much easier than stainless, and if you strike a solid object, that give is likely to save your engine from damage. For this reason, boats that regularly run aground or are used in areas where there’s lots of flotsam are better off when rigged with aluminum. Added bonus: aluminum props are a lot easier (and thus less expensive) to fix.
Lie #3: If you live in an area that may drop below freezing during the winter, you need to run anitfreeze through your outboard. This one’s an out-and-out lie that some unscrupulous mechanics tell to make more money. Truth be told, when an outboard is tilted down all of the water drains out. There’s no need for antifreeze, because nothing remains in the engine that could freeze up. But since a lot of boaters don’t realize this, boat shops run by people with loose morals will sometimes charge their customers for the “service” of running antifreeze through the engine. If you use a mechanic who’s done this to you in the past, find someone new – and tell that guy he ought to go into politics.