Preparing your boat for the summer |

Preparing your boat for the summer

Carolyn White, Olathe, Colo.

Stepping into the main office of Valley Marine, located west of Delta, Colo., at 1366 Highway 50, is like opening the door into a sportsman’s time capsule.

The walls are covered with all sorts of mounted fish; antique lures, poles, and nets; black and white photos; some downright hilarious old signs; and a half-dozen elk and deer heads. Also on display are some old, old, outboard motors with such brand names as Evinrude, Elgin Sea King, Martin, and Johnson, just to name a few. Some date back as far as 1915, and each has been propped against a shelf that’s filled with such everyday items as oil and new and used engine parts. (Generally, if they don’t have it in stock, the Marina can get you anything you need within three days from a wide range of distributors throughout the United States.)

Outside in the storage yard, you’ll find a wide variety of boats that are either for sale on consignment or waiting for repair. However, this isn’t just your average, water vessel service-and-supply shop. The family that owns this business – Alvin and Linda Edmonds along with their son, Dusty – not only builds custom boats (they’re registered with the U.S. Coast Guard) but also offers a complete fabrication shop, where they weld all types metals.

It started back in 1992 with a propeller-repair shop but over time, the orders grew. “These days we make manufacturing equipment for the Russell Stover candy factory,” Alvin explained during our interview. “We build farm equipment for Kubota and John Deere, too, and skid haulers for the mines.” Since Valley Marine is open year around, when demands are high Alvin employs part-time help. In the past, “All the guys were sent for mechanical training in Sacramento, Calif.,” he continued, because the main focus, of course, is to “give good service.”

No matter what type of boat that you own, if you’re preparing one for summer, Alvin – who can often be found at Lake Powell (located in northern Arizona and southern Utah) on a pontoon – has the following suggestions:

1. Make sure you check the oils in the motor and outdrive.

2. Have a good battery charge.

3. Test the air pressure in all tires and the light hook-ups to the truck and trailer.

4. Change the impeller (water pump) every two years.

5. Every four years, have the gear cases resealed and pressure tested.

6. See that the horn and fire extinguisher are working.

7. Store adequate life jackets, life rings, and throw cushions (these are regulations).

8. Have a whistle on hand in case of a breakdown and loss of electricity.

9. Put your registration in a plastic bag or container and keep it on board at all times.

As for number 10? “Always take your fishing pole,” Alvin recommended with a smile. Spoken like a true outdoorsman and boat lover.

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