Staying In ’Toon: DIY Dreams

Boating Tips and Observations with Sky Smith

September 2017 Feature Scott “Sky” Smith

I don’t know what I have exactly, maybe it is an attention deficit disorder, but whatever it is I never seem to like leaving anything as it was when I bought it.

It’s not a big deal for things around the house: you know, like TVs, furniture etc. But buy a car, motorcycle or a boat and I am making plans to change things before it gets off the showroom floor.

It’s not like I’m unhappy with my decisions. Although I have been told I often have “buyer’s remorse” within minutes of buying things. But my buyer’s remorse is not about what I bought, but wondering if I got the best deal. Did I work hard enough for the best price? Should I have asked for more extras?

For example, a few years back I drove to a boat dealer near Chicago to buy a project sailboat for a book. But when I looked at the boat it wasn’t the right boat for the book. But since I was there and I had money burning a hole in my pocket and I needed a boat (doesn’t everyone need a boat?) I asked what the deal was about the brand new Catalina Capri 22 sailboat sitting in the corner of the lot. The dealer said it was a leftover and had been sitting for two years because no one was interested. The dealer thought it was because it was just too “plain.” The boat didn’t have any of the regular extras like a galley, ladder, head, etc. In my mind it was the perfect project boat. It was a blank canvas for do-it-yourself projects.

Think about it: a new boat without the new price and it needed stuff. Made a deal, hooked it up to the truck and started out the drive. Within five minutes I was wondering if I could have gotten a few hundred more off. My wife and daughter announced that my daughter had won. Apparently they had a wager on how long it would be before I was second-guessing my purchase… at least that part of me is predictable.

Buying new is good, but I also like a good deal on used. And used isn’t exactly the way I want it, because the old owner made it the way he wanted it. Whether it’s the engine, the carpet or even the radio, there is always something.

To my own pontoon I’ve added a Bimini Buddy, Pontoon Wholesalers 3rd toon and SeaStar Solutions hydraulic steering. And of course there are quick and easy installs like the Sirius Satellite radio receiver and assorted hooks and cupholders.

And over the winter is the best time for me to make plans for the spring time updates and to start collecting the things I need. My goals are always to make sure the projects are doable by the average person with a limited amount of space, time, money and skill.

Maintenance shops are a vital part of the industry, but some things can be done at home in the driveway because it can be fun, sometimes entertaining and often cost-saving. However, I must admit that a few of my projects would have been cheaper if I hired them done. Not saying that I ever messed up and had to do things over… actually, yes I am saying that. And the only thing that suffered was my pride and pocket book.

Are underwater and under deck lights still a fad? I guess I might be late on this, but I finally added a couple of blue LED lights to the engine pod of my ‘toon. They are installed right at the water line so that they actually sit right under the water and shine out to the outside edges of the boat. I wanted to light up the engine and ladder area. What else do I have planned? I’m thinking since I have blue lights in the water I need to add under the edge of the deck lights. And then there is a rear carpet issue that is calling me… Or is it ADD… not sure I know or really care. I really have fun doing these projects.

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