Dri-Deck Mats

One of the projects I’d planned for this year was a deep clean, polish, and wax of the hull and deck. But it’s August and as much as I like the idea of a clean shiny boat it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. Not in time for this boating season anyway.

So in the interim, one thing I did to brighten and protect the deck was to add a set of deck mats. The ones i bought are called Dri-Dek and they’re manufactured in Florida by a company of the same name.  They come as 12″ x 12″ interlocking panels that you assemble to fit the space you want to cover. West Marine will happily charge you six plus dollars apiece for them but you can get them direct from the manufacturer for a little over four. I found other places to buy them online as well, e few with pricing even cheaper than the manufacturer although with fewer available colors.

They’re well worth it…rugged, well made, and easy to assemble. In addition to sprucing up and protecting the deck, they also provide a no-slip surface and, as their name implies, will help keep your feet dry from water on the deck. The only caveat is that in bare feet they’re not the most comfortable surface in the world to stand on. So if you spend a lot  of time in your boat in stocking feet you may want to consider other options. Aside from that, I’m very pleased.

They come in about a dozen colors including white, grey, blue, black, green, red, etc. I opted for white because part of what I wanted was to brighten up the cockpit. I was a little concerned that the white might stain easily but that hasn’t been the case.




honda-50Late last season I damaged the gears in the lower unit. The how and why is for another article. But it meant that this year I had to choose between repairing the engine (a 1995 Johnson) or replacing it. I opted for replacement, figuring then I could repair the Johnson at my leisure and either sell it or keep it as a backup.

The next question was new or used? I’m slow draw when it comes to spending money but after mulling it over, I decided to repower with a new engine. It wasn’t an easy decision. New outboards are pricey. The frugal guy in me had a hard time with the idea of putting an expensive engine on a hull (1987 Striper 16.2) that’s  worth a lot less.

On the other hand was this:

  • After three seasons of recurring engine problems, I kind of felt like I deserved a few years of trouble-free motoring.
  • Boating on the ocean especially, the safety factor of a reliable engine is paramount.
  • Having kids makes #1 and 2 doubly true.
  • Replacing my current 2 stroke with a new 4 stroke I hoped would give a nice boost to the cruising range of my boat’s 12 gallon built-in tank.

So I started researching. For size I decided to stick with the 50 hp I currently have on the boat–50 moves it plenty fast for me and I want to keep the cost and weight down. Also important to determine with any engine you buy, new or used, is who is going to service it. You need someone who is knowledgeable, affordable, and won’t string you along. Which doesn’t sound like rocket science, but can be a lot harder to find than you’d think–especially in the middle of the boating season. You need to know this BEFORE trouble strikes. (As I learned the hard way with past engines.)

I compared features of Evinrude, Honda, Mercury, Suzuki, Tohatsu, and Yamaha. All seemed reliable. In the end I narrowed the choice to Honda and Tohatsu. These offered the best combination of weight and price. Also both were available from dealers close by with good reputations for service after the sale.  Both priced out about $7800. That’s for the motor, wiring harness, controls and cables, fuel/water separator, prop, and installation. (For the same money the Tohatsu also included a tach and trim gauge.) Based on proximity and reputation, I decided to go with the Honda guy.

So that’s where I’m at. Installation is scheduled for the week after next. Can’t wait but in the meantime I have bottom-painting to do. I’ll fill in more of this article as it happen. Be interested to hear any advice/experience  others have learned from repowering their Wahoo!s.


P.S. Regarding Tohatsu, a lot of interesting and seemingly contradictory information about them around. I’ve read and been told that Tohatsu manufactures Nissan outboards–that Nissans are just Tohatsus with a Nissan sticker. They also make a lot of smaller Mercury and Evinrudes (this from a Mercury dealer).  On the other hand, this is the first year Tohatsu 4 strokes are available over 30 hp, and the Honda guy told me that it’s Honda that’s making the new, larger 4 stroke Tohatsus. The marine engine industry is a complicated business.

Wahoo! OEM replacement fuel tanks

tankHere’s some great info on where to get OEM replacement fuel tanks for Wahoo!s, passed along by site subscriber Dan Rhodes. Thanks Dan!

I have a 1988 18.50 Offshore. I  just got off the phone with RDS fabricators in Perry Florida and ordered my new 45 gallon aluminum tank! RDS is the same company who made the original tanks, formally AFP, Aluminum Fabricated Products. The tank I ordered is the exact spec tank for my model, down to the location of the fill inlet, vent tube, fuel gauge, and fuel suction. The model # for those of you who cannot read your original labels is 317-45A-AF.

RDS’s web site is www.rdsaluminum.com

Source for Wahoo! windshields

Doing some incidental searching I found another source for retro Wahoo! parts. UDP Plastics in Davie, Florida makes replacement windshields for Wahoo!s.

Their list of Wahoo! windshield molds includes:

  • 1987 18 1/2 ft. Wahoo Offshore
  • 1988 16 ft Wahoo Dual Console
  • 1988 16 ft. Wahoo CC
  • 1988 18 1/2 ft Wahoo Dual Console
  • 1989 18 1/2 ft Wahoo Dual Console
  • 1990 18 1/2 ft. Wahoo Offshore
  • 1991 18 1/2 ft Wahoo
  • 1992 16 ft. Wahoo CC
  • 1993 1850 Wahoo Offshore

For other years/models, their site says, ” Could not find your windshield in our stock mold search? No problem, we can make you a new one whether you have the old one or not!”

Here’s a link: http://www.updplastics.com/wahoo%20boats.htm

The right Bimini top for your Wahoo!

The question has come up more than once: “How do I choose the right size Bimini  top for my Wahoo!?”

Well, it happens that iboats.net has a great online Bimini selection wizard that’ll guide you to the right size for your model, year, and trim line. Even if you choose to buy your Bimini somewhere else, it will at least give you the correct specs. You’ll find the wizard here.

One note: Different Wahoo!s came with different railing configurations. I’d bet my bippy that the Bimini selection wizard on iboats.net does not factor in your railing–likely it assumes there are no impediments as to where you can situate the Bimini’s mounting brackets. So make sure you measure and account for the presence of your railing when choosing a Bimini.

A Shipping Vent

I do a lot of my boat supply shopping online. Sometimes the orders are large but often I just need something small. As was the case the other night when I went looking for a nylon replacement vent for my fuel tank. Now when placing a small order online, it drives me nuts to get to checkout only to discover an exorbitant shipping fee. This is what happened the other night. It seemed like site after site wanted $10 to ship this $4 part.

So I decided to do a comparison of shipping rates. I searched for the same item on a dozen or so large boating supply web sites. (If a site didn’t have the exact item, I chose a similarly priced one so I could still compare their shipping rates.)

What I found was  a range in shipping fees from free shipping (Overtons) to $16.18 from Go2 Marine ($11.18 shipping + a $5 small order handling fee).  And Go2 Marine might not have been the highest: While Boat Owners Warehouse stated on their shopping cart there would be an $8 handling fee, I never got the actual shipping cost as the site would not show it until I entered my credit card info first (somethingI declined to do).

One other thing I dislike when shopping online: having to gp through checkout before you can find out what the shipping fee is. Fortunately, many sites include a calculator that lets you see the estimated shipping as soon as you put an item in your cart. Just punch in a state and zip code. Others though make you fill out all of your personal information first. And Boat Owners Warehouse, unbelievably, also wanted my credit card number before it would quote a shipping fee.


Site Cost to Ship Cheapest Shipping Method Site Has Calculator? Notes
Overtons 0 UPS Ground Yes Free shipping. Did not carry the specific item.
IBoats 3.59 USPS First Class Yes
Discount Marine Supplies 5.99 USPS Priority Yes
Jamestown Distributors 6.00 USPS Priority Yes Did not carry the specific item.
Boaters World 6.95 USPS Priority Yes Did not carry the specific item.
Boat Owners Warehouse 8.00+Shipping No Did not get shipping method/cost as site would not reveal without first getting credit card info.
Boat Mania 9.30 UPS Ground Yes
Wholesale Marine 9.80 Fedex Ground No
West Marine 9.95 USPS Priority No Did not carry the specific item.
Boaters Marine Supply 9.95 UPS Ground No Did not carry the specific item.
JMS Online 10.91 UPS Ground Yes
BoatFix 12.01 UPS Ground Yes Did not carry the specific item.
Go2 Marine 16.18 UPS Ground Yes 11.18 for shipping plus $5 small order fee.


Replacement Wahoo! decals

Completely by accident tonight I came across a web store that sells replacement Wahoo! decals–the decals that came on the port and starboard sides of every Wahoo! near the stern. Until I found these it hadn’t even occurred to me that the decals might still exist for purchase. A little Googling turned up a second site selling them. I didn’t find any others although there might be at least a few more.

So if the decals  on your Wahoo! are faded, peeling, or otherwise messed up, replacements are available. How cool is that? Prices ranged from $40 to $60 for a pair.

Two sources: