Most boat owners do some of their own repairs and maintenance work, but regardless of how willing you are to do-it-yourself, the time will come when you need the services of marine mechanic or carpenter.
your first step, prepare a written outline of what problems need to be
Because boat repairs can be complicated, unforeseen obstacles are common. Ask your repair shop how much similar repairs have cost in the past and what kinds of problems are possible along the way.
Your repair list will become more detailed and may even expand as you discuss the project with the shop or mechanic doing the work. Be sure the mechanic has a copy of your work order when the project begins.
Tips for keeping your sanity and checkbook intact:
repair shop referrals from other boat owners or marine surveyors.
Before you pay the repair bill, inspect your boat or engine. Reporting problems immediately will make it easier to get the shop to correct them. Rely on a marine surveyor for a second opinion if you are unhappy about workmanship or how repairs were made.
Contact the manufacturer for assistance when warranty repairs are faulty.
When the shop refuses to cooperate, file a written complaint with the shop and keep all invoices to document your complaint. Try to get your money back through dispute mediation or small claims court.
Most boat yards and marinas require payment in full for repairs before boats leave their premises.
Maritime law gives providers of goods and services — for example, marinas, boat yards and mechanics — the right to take legal action to “seize” boats until repair and storage bills are paid. The legal process even gives them the right to recoup the value of their services by selling boats or property on board if bills aren’t paid promptly. Good service or bad, it’s up to the consumer to either pay up or prove that the debt is unfair.
To improve your chances of avoiding billing disputes and maritime liens:
for references before having repairs made. If you break down far from
home, contact your boat manufacturer for suggestions about reliable shops
in the area.