Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tips for Choosing The Best Boatyard in South Florida

Boating is a hobby and a lifestyle that many of us enjoy with our friends and families.   An inevitable part of owning a boat is the maintenance required to keep it in good condition. Sooner or later your boat will need maintenance and repairs. Choosing the right facility and professionals can make the difference between a pleasant experience and a frustrating one.

In most cases, you will have many different boat yards to choose from, so you need to make sure you give it some thought before choosing where to go. Find below a few tips on choosing the right boat yard.

1. Should you go with a reliable dealer or independent shop?
If your boat is under a lease of a specific warranty, most likely you will have to take it to an authorized dealer. Even if your boat is not under warranty, dealerships have an advantage because they usually have better professionals and dealer parts. Engine manufacturers require their dealers to have the proper training on current models, as well as a sufficient parts inventory. Using a dealership give you the peace of mind about any disputes that can't be resolved at the dealership level may be able to be addressed with the manufacturer. The downside about using a dealer is usually a higher cost; dealerships are typically considerably more expensive due to higher costs for facilities, training, and wages. Most well-established independent shops also produce high-quality work, especially shops that are started by, or staffed by, former factory trained technicians. Unlike a dealership, they have to survive only on repairs, so they may work harder to solve problems but they may also cut costs and give you lower quality parts.

2. Make sure you ask for recommendations
Fellow boaters are the best source of information for local repair shops, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is. The most recent recommendations should carry more weight on your decision. The best advice is to talk to others who've had similar repairs done on their boats.  Keep in mind that recommendations are good as long as they're impartial and unaffiliated with any shop or boatyard. Surveyors accredited by the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) and the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) are a good bet because they're required to be independent.

3. Don’t wait…! You should find a good shop before you need it
Most yards have a specialty, either the type of work they do or the type of boats they work on most often. Make sure so find a boat yard that deals with the type of repair your boat needs. Some yards are terrific with diesel engines, but don't have the facilities or personnel for fiberglass repairs. Others can do amazing woodwork, but don't have experience in welding. Likewise, a shop that works mostly on small runabouts is probably not a good choice for a large trawler. We recommend you to choose a yard that offers full service, and has experience on all the most common maintenance issues and repairs your boat will need. Also make sure you look for boat yards that offer dealer parts and expertise.

4. Look around when you are making a decision.
You can tell a lot about a facility by looking at it. Is it neat and well organized? or are there pieces of boats in every corner for no apparent reason?
Are the equipment and tools rusty and poorly maintained? If the shop won't invest in equipment and upgrades? Do they invest in the best technicians? And would you get the highest-quality work? Are the boats in the yard well-supported on stands? What are the people like? If you're greeted with indifference by the service manager? Or he's not interested in hearing the details of your situation? Does the shop had lots of boats in the yard?
Another point to have in consideration is to, took for shops that invest in American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) certifications for their technicians; they've made a commitment to make repairs that comply with crucial safety standards. There are eight areas of certification: electrical, systems (plumbing, water systems and tanks), diesel engines, gasoline engines, corrosion, air conditioning/refrigeration, composite boat building, and ABYC standards. Ask if they're a certified clean marina? Chances are if they are taking care of their waterways they will take care of you.

5. Do your homework, look for relevant reviews
Online recommendations are a mixture of good and bad, more reliable ones have real names attached and specific details in postings. Fellow boaters are likely the best folks to recommend a yard, but go one step further: be sure that the repairs are similar to what you need. Another option is to ask a marine surveyor. These professionals are often knowledgeable about the quality of work in local repair yards, as long as they’re impartial and unaffiliated with any shop or boatyard. On the other hand, a handful of bad reviews is probably reason enough to look elsewhere. Complete reviews with details are more reliable than simple postings.
A few more things to consider: Don't shop on price alone. Rates are partially determined by location. In popular boating areas near big cities, prices may be substantially higher due to overhead costs; some backwater shops might do equally good work at lower rates. Also, don't let convenience be the deciding factor. The shop on your way to the lake might be an easy place to drop off your boat, but do your homework and make sure they're up to the task.

At Whiticar you can expect dealer expertise, professional mechanics and multiple convenient locations on the Treasure Coast (Stuart and Fort Pierce.)  In addition,  Shearwater ( a division of Whiticar) offers a professional mobile service, authorized dealer parts and expertise.

Visit our website for additional information about our services. http://whiticarboatworks.com/  

Protecting Your Boat During a Hurricane

Hurricanes are enormous cyclonic storm systems covering hundreds or even thousands of square miles which usually develop in the tropical or subtropical latitudes during the summer and fall. Less intense storms are designated tropical depressions or tropical storms. Each hurricane is, essentially, an organized system made up of hundreds of individual thunderstorms.

The key to protecting your boat from hurricanes or any severe weather is proper planning, preparation and timely action. Most of the work needed should be done prior to the storm. Generally, you may have from 24-48 hours to take action after bad weather is predicted or a hurricane warning is issued but the key is to HAVE A PLAN ahead of time.

Before the Storm Hits

  • Check your marina or storage area. Secure a copy of your rental agreement and know your responsibilities and liabilities as well as the marina or storage area’s responsibilities.
  • Check with your state to see if drawbridges will be open for boats during evacuation procedures.
  • Make a practice run or drill to check accessibility, depth of water, bridges, location of aids and/or obstructions to navigation and locations to secure lines or drop anchors.
  • After you have secured the anchoring or mooring provisions, remove all movable equipment such as canvas, sails, dinghies, radios, cushions, Biminis, etc. Lash down everything you cannot remove, such as tillers, wheels, booms, etc.
  • Seal all openings to make the boat as watertight as possible (duct tape works well).
  • Turn off electrical system unless you plan to leave the boat in the water. If the boat doesn’t have to remain in the water, remove the battery to eliminate the risk of fire or other damage.
  • If time allows, remove your boat from the threatened area or take your boat to a previously identified hurricane refuge.
  • Keep all documents, including insurance policies, a recent photo or video of your watercraft, registration, equipment inventory, lease agreement and telephone numbers of appropriate authorities (harbor master, coast guard, insurance agent, national weather service, etc.). Store these documents in a safe place, somewhere other than your boat.

Moving your boat away from the storm path
If your plan calls for moving your boat away from the storm path, try to move it at least 48 to 72 hours before the hurricane or storm is estimated to strike the area. This may even be before a hurricane watch is issued. Make sure that:

  • Fuel tanks are full.
  • Fuel filters are clean.
  • Batteries are charged.
  • Bilges are clean.
  • Cockpit drains are clear and open.
  • Firefighting equipment is in good condition, in place and readily accessible.
Remove and/or secure all deck gear, portable gear, radio antennas, outriggers, fighting chairs, deck boxes, and side canvas/curtains, sails, booms, extra halyards, canister rafts, and dinghies. Make sure that you secure all hatches, ports, doors, and sailboat rudders. The dinghy may be required to take lines ashore.
If the vessel must remain dockside at a private dock or marina, heavy duty fender boards (2x6) should be installed on a bare wood center piling to prevent damage. Lines should be doubled and even tripled where necessary to hold a vessel in the center of a berth or off seawall or dock pilings. Preventer should be installed at the top of the pilings so lines cannot slip off the top. Note that nylon line will stretch five to ten percent of its length.

For boats in Dry Storage

  • Determine the safest obtainable haven for your boat and make arrangements to move your boat there. When selecting a safe location, be sure to consider whether storm surge could rise into that area.
  • Wherever you choose to locate your boat for the duration of the storm, lash the boat to its cradle with heavy lines. Based on the weight of the boat, consider adding water to the bilge to help hold it down.
  • Never leave a boat in davits or on a hydro-lift.


  • Never stay with your boat. Your boat should be stripped of anything that can become loose during the storm. This would include nun-stepping the mast in sailboats. Boat documents, radios and other valuables should be removed from the vessel prior to the storm, since you never know how long it will take for you to get back to your boat once the storm passes.
  • Hurricanes are among the most destructive phenomena of nature, their appearance is not to be taken lightly. Advance planning cannot guarantee that your boat will survive a hurricane safely or even survive at all.
  • Planning can, however, improve survivability and is therefore certainly worth the time and money to do so.

Whiticar covers all of your boat and marine needs to have your boat in great shape. Visit our website for additional information about our services.  www.whiticarboatworks.com

Friday, August 1, 2014

Whiticar Boat Yard, Providing Services for All Types of Boats

Whiticar Boat Yard has been continuously operated for over 60 years and is designated a Florida Clean Boatyard by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  Rapid response for all your boating needs is available at the Yard or at your boat. Whiticar Boat Yard’s ability to service your boating needs at competitive pricing with one call has resulted in a loyal customer base.   

Our yard, in combination with our mobile service capabilities, gives us the flexibility to support your boating needs whether large or small.

Whiticar Boat Works provides service mostly to “pilothouse boats and sport fishing yachts, but don’t categorize this great company as a service provider for just those two segments of the boating world.   Whiticar proudly offers services to a great variety of other boats (Ranging from power boats, to sailing boats and more...)

Last week, Whiticar was providing a great service to this “Chobee vessel” from the US Army Corp of Engineers.

This boat definitely falls into the “We service all types” category.

Whiticar hauled this tug for maintenance work.
Some of the worked performed included:
Removed rudders, replace rudder bearings, reinstalled.
Removed, reconditioned props and applied Propspeed treatment.
Prepped and painted the bottom and hull sides.
Recertified fire suppression systems.
Renewed exterior zinc anodes.

Prior to this Chobee coming into the Stuart boat yard, Whiticar had been servicing another of their vessels “Leitner” at the Fort Pierce location with a similar course of work.

For additional information about Whiticar’s boat yard in Stuart and Fort Pierce, please visit our website http://whiticarboatworks.com/