Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic
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  1. #1
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    Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    Hi I'm currently 36 y/o and I been working retail a 3rd of my life. and quite frankly I'm sick of it, any one that has worked it knows what I'm talking about. I'm looking to get a new home like 15 min from Lake Folsom, CA. And I got to thinking, "Hey I been working on my skies for 8+ years paint, countless mods, some fiberglass, and lots of wrenching in general. Just what if.....?" I'm all self thought through Trial and error and these forums. And I do Enjoy doing it... then is being rewarded with a fun slick looking toy to show off with.

    I would like to become a PWC/boat mechanic, self employed eventually. I have no training at all, just experience from doing it as a hobby. I feel this would be a great time to start considering this career do to location and my hobby.

    Where do I start this late in life?
    I'm to old to join the USCG or Navy so that option is probably out.
    Last edited by stixx925; 03-05-2017 at 12:36 PM.
    90' 550SX "Shaved head, .5mm+ Wiseco pistons, SBN 44, Kerker exhaust, Mariner waterbox, WestCoast OS Gas Tank, extended ride plate,(440 pump) 16deg SS Skat imp."
    WIP - 83' JS550 " .5mm+ Wiseco pistons, WestCoast: Head, rc520 reed cyl, 7 Ring Exhaust, Ext Ride plate, Ex Manifold, 2x Velocity stack, waterbox, Westcoast Dual 38 intake, Dual SBN 38s, 440 pump and a 16.5 degree SS Skat imp. Lightend flywheel"
    97' Tigershark Monte Carlo 1000 fresh top end and runs finally! ---SOLD---

  2. #2
    Resident Guru SpitAndDirt's Avatar
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    Craigslist is your friend and so is the Nextdoor network if your neighborhood has one. Start offering your repair services to friends and family and get your name out there. Do not cut corners and develop your skills and reputation for one who does repairs the "right" way. You're going to make mistakes and you are going to mess something up at least once. When it happens, it doesn't matter what you did wrong, it's all in how you handle the situation or the customer. If you screwed something up, make it right. In the beginning, you wont be able to afford insurance so you want to stay within what you know and then try tackling harder problems as your skills increase.

    Notice I don't instruct you to attend a school that teaches you how to be a mechanic. In my brutally honest opinion, it's a waste of money. Some of the best mechanics I know are all self-taught. Maybe they had a mentor that might have taught them the basics, but from my experience, understanding how to work on and repair machinery doesn't come from sitting in a classroom or watching someone else perform a task over and over for a group of students.

    Service Manuals (Workshop manuals) are available for everything you might encounter with the exception of fiberglass repairs. Get to know and understand electricity as best as you possibly can. Own more than one torque wrench and USE THEM CORRECTLY! You are going to spend more than you want to on special tools and especially SCAN tools for anything that uses a PCM, ECM, etc. Ebay, Craigslist, and AllofCraigslist are invaluable for finding tools on the cheap, so just keep your eyes out and regularly check for deals. There are just some things that you can't properly diagnose without a scan tool....it sucks, but it's the truth.

    And don't, I repeat DON'T lie to a customer and tell them that you have performed a repair or task when you haven't just because you want the job or the money. Trust is everything in this business, and if you want more business, people have to trust you completely with their "toys." If you haven't done a task before, that isn't a reason to turn a prospective customer away, it just means you need to be up front and honest with them and tell them it will take a little longer so you can familiarize yourself with the problem and the unit you are working on. If any prospective customer tries to force your hand and persuade you to take on a job you know that you aren't capable of performing( or completing ) then you need to politely tell them to take their business elsewhere. It sucks turning away money and work, but in this world of people who love to pursue lawsuits, you can't afford to screw up when you are first starting out.

    I don't have all day to spend on telling you what you should or shouldn't do to become a boat/ski mechanic, or any other kind of mechanic for that matter. I can tell you that wrenching on stuff is enjoyable for me and it's the way I pay my bills. Don't be surprised though that you get burnt out after awhile. Working on your own stuff after working on everyone else's can sometimes take the fun out it.

    Everything I stated above is assuming that you won't just try and start out working as an apprentice at a power sports dealership or a boat dealer. You "cut your teeth" on your own, not with someone else telling you that you aren't ready to tackle a new project. Again, just a lot of what I learned along the way.

    For the record, if I were hiring for my business, I would be more inclined to hire someone who demonstrates their ability through hands-on work vs. a piece of paper saying they went to school for it.
    Last edited by SpitAndDirt; 03-05-2017 at 03:29 PM.
    96XP Wake-jumping demon #1
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    A BIG THANKS to Bill O' and Chris at Watercraft Magic for putting together an excellent re-jetting and Prok filter kit for the XPL.
    I love my CanDooPro! Take that stealerships!! www.candoopro.com

  3. #3
    I dream skis Bob Gruen's Avatar
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    Are you well versed on the new technology as well? I'm old school, all of my stuff is 2 stroke and fiberglass. The new tech is 4 stroke, fuel injection, turbos, plastic / foam composits (that is supposed to be a real bear to repair).

    In Florida there are small repair shops with just two or three mechanics. I'd suggest looking in your new area to see if you can find such a repair shop.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    I have only worked on 2 stroke, got no clue with the more advanced stuff.... thats why i came and asked this question... I'd like to get experience, some how, first
    Thing is Im a Hands on Guy.. you can throw theory texts speeches at me and i wont remember nothing. but Show me get me involved i pick it up pretty quick.
    90' 550SX "Shaved head, .5mm+ Wiseco pistons, SBN 44, Kerker exhaust, Mariner waterbox, WestCoast OS Gas Tank, extended ride plate,(440 pump) 16deg SS Skat imp."
    WIP - 83' JS550 " .5mm+ Wiseco pistons, WestCoast: Head, rc520 reed cyl, 7 Ring Exhaust, Ext Ride plate, Ex Manifold, 2x Velocity stack, waterbox, Westcoast Dual 38 intake, Dual SBN 38s, 440 pump and a 16.5 degree SS Skat imp. Lightend flywheel"
    97' Tigershark Monte Carlo 1000 fresh top end and runs finally! ---SOLD---

  5. #5
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    Click your heels three times and say "I am a PWC boat mechanic". It's what WFO does.

    jeez I sound like what's up guy.....
    Last edited by driftmaster; 03-06-2017 at 01:57 AM.

  6. #6
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    Hope you can follow your dream. Good luck.

    I would love to do the same but I live in a small town so wouldnt be able to make enough money to survive.

    Would you look at dirtbikes and weedeaters, chainsaws etc? It's easy money through winter when no one is thinking about getting wet.

  7. #7
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home hyosung's Avatar
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    Quote Originally Posted by stixx925 View Post
    I have only worked on 2 stroke, got no clue with the more advanced stuff.... thats why i came and asked this question... I'd like to get experience, some how, first
    Thing is Im a Hands on Guy.. you can throw theory texts speeches at me and i wont remember nothing. but Show me get me involved i pick it up pretty quick.
    start off by working at a shop for someone else , the new later model outboard boat and jetski stuff is over most peoples heads and there is little to no information on the internet as to how to fix issues , this is my latest rebuild ,2014 DF250 Suzuki 24v multi stage electronic induction ,electronic VVT,had an electrical problem that caused a melt down of pistons and valves, BTW the electrical issue was caused by some wanna be attempting to fvck with it ,,
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by hyosung; 03-06-2017 at 07:32 AM.
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=425767

    modded X2 650

    900 powered custom 650 sx .

    Jerry Rigging is my specialty .....



    if i did like everyone else and copied everything i needed or wanted i would save lots of time and money.

  8. #8
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    I think if you ask WFO Speedracer if it is a good idea to become a PWC mechanic or start your own PWC repair business the answer is a resounding "no."
    Riding mostly Lake Austin

    1984 JS440 -- 1989 650sx -- 1991 X2 -- 1992 750sx -- 1995 900zxi (qty 2) -- 1995 X2

    Quote Originally Posted by cujo View Post
    God intended PWC to be two strokes, as well as dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and chain saws....

  9. #9
    Frequent Poster AirJunky's Avatar
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    Be prepared to work a LOT of hours, mostly in the spring, summer & fall. And notice that others who work in the industry don't often play on the water too.
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    Current ride is an almost stock 94 550SX
    My JS550 build
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  10. #10
    PWCToday.com Is My Home Away From Home hyosung's Avatar
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    Re: Has it been asked? How to become a pwc/boat mechanic

    yep! fixing you're own watercraft is a whole different ball game to working on other peoples as a business , one small thing overlooked and the result can be a messy expensive disaster, , another problem is > dealing with the public ""their IDIOTS "
    http://www.pwctoday.com/showthread.php?t=425767

    modded X2 650

    900 powered custom 650 sx .

    Jerry Rigging is my specialty .....



    if i did like everyone else and copied everything i needed or wanted i would save lots of time and money.

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