BONEHEAD BLUNDER: Getting too alarmed
THE BONEHEAD: An attentive boater
BONEHEAD RATING: Way, way more than 5
WHAT HAPPENED: I knew if I hung on through 2018 that 2019 would provide some humdinger boneheads! I received a call from a transplant who owns a used center console boat with a 2000 Yamaha 115 hp. He called in a panic because an alarm was going off at dead idle and he couldn’t tell what it was. I asked what happened at other rpm. When he sped up, the alarm stopped. To me, that spelled water-pump impeller, even if the visible discharge “appeared good.” Regardless, I made the hour-long trek to his place, which I could just see across the river, and hooked up my laptop to his engine to see what the past showed. Unfortunately the engine was one of the originals and didn’t offer that info, so I watched the computer screen as the temperature rose to 104.9 degrees Fahrenheit (cool as a cucumber) and then dropped to 101.3 (just as expected) as I increased the rpm count by a few hundred.
Not having a good handle on the problem, I suggested we go for a ride to see if the problem could be duplicated. The gentleman lowered the boat off the lift and climbed aboard. Then he engaged his Garmin, spun the boat slowly and told me they went from his pier to the next one at a dead idle, and just before they arrived the alarm started screeching. They turned around and went home. Sure enough, as he and I approached the neighbor’s pier, the alarm sounded.
“There!” He shouted triumphantly. “The alarm!”
I reached around him and turned off the Garmin, effectively silencing the shallow-water alarm.
“What alarm?” I shouted back.
During the ensuing quiet, he looked at me and said, “If you tell my wife about this, I will place a contract on your head. Trust me.”
LESSON LEARNED: I gave him a list of things to check the next time he heard the alarm. At the top of the list I wrote Shut Off Depthfinder!