I had to write about Baker Marine, a boat repair and storage shop located in Muskegon, MI and run by owner, Steve Baker.
My neighbor has a boat and the trim had died on it. He told me he was going to call his mechanic and have him take a look. That same day, I saw Steve Baker stopped by and fixed the problem. It was simply a fuse and Steve didn't charge for the repair. Being the good neighbor he is, Steve was forced to take something for his time; that convinced me to make note of Baker Marine should I ever need anything.
Sure enough, a couple weeks later, I needed that information. I have a Pontoon. While out with friends, I ran across something that destroyed the lower unit (that is putting it mildly).
The insurance adjuster (and if you don't have boat insurance, I highly recommend it!) and Steve Baker both said that it was one of the worst cases they have seen. To make a long story short, Baker Marine had a re-manufactured lower unit from Jasper Engines and Transmissions installed and the boat was back in the water in a week!
We formed a mutual admiration society - I loved the service, the boat insurance adjuster actually thanked me for bringing Baker Marine to his attention (he was impress with the labor rates) and Baker Marine stated that the insurance adjuster (out of Grand Haven) was a great person to deal with (most insurance adjusters are not) - everyone was happy!
I also called around for boat storage, which included Torresen Marine, The Mart Dock and Pointe Marine and was shocked at the cost of storage. Heated boat storage was insanely priced (perhaps I need to open a boat storage facility!) and cold boat storage was right behind! Over $1,000 for cold boat storage!
I called JC Pontoon, manufacturer for my Tritoon and asked them about cold storage. The said that they store their pontoons outside and that it won't hurt the boat as long as you have it shrink-wrapped and well ventilated - ventilation being the key. Halls Sport Center in Muskegon also said they store boats outside and suggested using moisture packets to keep things dry (Halls Sport Center was also pricey for boat storage in Muskegon).
I saved over $1000 going with Baker Marine and boat repair by putting my boat in cold storage at their storage yard.
If you are considering storing your boat in Muskegon, Grand Haven or the Whitehall area, I highly recommend you contact Baker Marine and compare.
Steve gave me the impression that he is a mechanic you can trust, and those are hard to find. The insurance adjuster was happy, I personally watched him provide above and beyond service to my neighbor, and I was lucky enough to have him work on my boat.
Shortly after I received my boat with the refurbished unit (Steve said that 'refurbished' is how it's done and that the units are as good as new), I was out in the big lake and stopped to take pictures of the log below. This log was right in the boat path from Grand Haven to Muskegon and I was thrilled that I missed it!
I backed the boat up a few times to get a better shot and once I placed it into forward, a Horrible noise came from the back of the boat, then a smell of trouble (lower unit fluid which smells very bad!). I was dead in the water and a perfect day turned into a nightmare. It took all day to get back into shore and when I finally managed to get the pontoon up on the trailer, this is what I saw:
Muskegon Boat Repair needed once again and turns out that I was very unlucky. From what Baker Marine stated, this hardly ever happens and as you can see, the gears blew right out of the unit! Steve said not to worry and that he would send it in and make sure I was taken care, no charge. He did send in the unit, installed the new one and let me know that because the end of the season was near, the warranty would not start until next spring.
I never had a chance to take out the second unit, but I anxiously look forward to spring. The only bad part about all this is you have to drive half throttle on new units for about 20 hours!
I'll post back in the spring and let you know how repair expert Steve Baker did on getting me up and running!
Update: It works like a charm - the 20 hours was a killer, but I'm back on the water again and everything works great!
Baker marine, give it a shot:
Baker Marine Service
Boat and Storage
Muskegon, MI 49445