With ski boat prices on the rise, instead of buying their own rides, many skiers opt to enter into ski boat-sharing arrangements. While sharing a ski boat drastically curbs the cost of ownership, maintenance and repair issues can be a complicated headache. Dan Velcic, president of Predator Bay Water Ski Club in Calgary, Canada, knows a thing or two about the complexities of maintaining a club boat. With more than 100 members in his club sharing two new ski boats each year, Velcic discovered the best bet is to run a tight ship when it comes to keeping vessels in top shape. To this end, he set up a fairly simple program to ensure the club’s ski boats are always on the water and ready to ride. The following tips are a few of the program’s most important guidelines.
Many Hands Lighten the Load
It’s vital to create several committees to oversee each element involved with maintenance. One group should be in charge of basic upkeep (oil changes), another for general cleaning, one for major weekly detailing and one to oversee nightly gassing. Whether the groups are large or small, it’s important that one person is not shouldering the load for the entire job.
Open the Lines of Communication
Too often, small problems go unreported, leading to larger problems down the road. Make sure all club members have an open line of communication with the boat committees. You don’t want a bent prop to lead to a bent shaft or a tiny rattle to lead to a blown engine.
Maintenance Extends Beyond the Boat
It’s also important to keep your site as boat-friendly as possible. Be sure your docks are well-equipped with protective bumpers. (Not all drivers are as skilled as you.) Be sure any shallow areas are well-marked, particularly on the ends of the lake or near turn islands.
Keep Parts Well-Stocked
The quickest way to grow dissent among club members is by having a downed boat. Make sure your club is well-stocked with parts and supplies. Have spare props, radiator hoses, impellers, oil and filters on hand to ensure a minor issue does not keep your entire club dry for the day.
Flip Your Boat
You need to have a concrete plan concerning when and how you’ll upgrade your boat. We have a 500-hour exit strategy with all our ski boats. This ensures we can still get top dollar when we sell and replace our fleet.
Education Is Your Greatest Ally
It’s important all new drivers are well-educated before being turned loose behind the wheel. Employ a driver education/certification system within your club. An experienced club member and driver needs to teach new drivers the nuances of your lake and course. We like to use an informal driver training period to supplement the national legal requirements before each member is granted driving privileges.