By JOYANNA LOVE
The warm weather is calling to boats on Lake Mitchell, and recreational water sports and fishing are
kicking into high gear.
Before boats get back in the water, however, there are some important maintenance items that need to be addressed.
Blue Creek Marina is the only marina on the lake that offers boat repairservices. Wesley Pinson bought the
marina in 2016, but it was first established in the 1940s.
“Most people don’t really think about their boats or anything during the winter,” Pinson said. “Usually, when they come to get out on the water, the battery will be dead.”
He said damage can also be caused if a boat owner has left ethanol gas in their gas tank and engine.
“Ethanol gas is not good to sit for months at a time,” Pinson said.
De-winterization is needed for a boat to be ready for a fun afternoon on the lake. Winterization includes removing water from the engine to ensure the boat can withstand freezing temperatures without damage. Pinson said healso adds a stabilizer to the fuel tank
and works on the battery.
Since Pinson is at the marina, he is who most people call for de-winterization at the start of the season.
This process includes “putting the engine back together so it will hold water again and circulate water, so that it will cool properly and not flood the boat,” he said.
It is also important to make sure that the boat engine is cooling properly.
“An overheat on the river can be catastrophic to your engine,” Pinson said.
Many people also choose to have the oil changed and yearly service done at this time. An oil change is recommended every 100 hours or once a year.
Pinson said this maintenance is important to keep a boat from breaking down in the middle of the lake.
If that does happen, Pinson will come tow the boat back to shore. He said simply swimming back to shore is dangerous because of the boat traffic on the lake.
Pinson makes sure every customer has his number for situations like this.
For those new to the lake, Pinson recommends having one of the marina’s business cards in the glove compartment of every boat.
“Breaking down on the water is not breaking down on the side of the road, you are not going to see someone pass (every so often),” Pinson said.
However, he said on holidays when there are a lot of boaters on the lake the hospitality of the community comes through.
“This is a very friendly lake,” Pinson said. “A lot of people that come to our lake from … other lakes they’re surprised at how friendly our lake is.
On a major weekend when there is a lot of boat traffic out there, if you break down and you pull your hood open on your boat or you take the motor cover off your outboard engine, somebody is going to be stopping in a couple of minutes to see if you need help.”
Wakeboarding and surfing has increased in popularity on Lake Mitchell in the past 10 years, making the boats that are needed for these water sports more prevalent.
Pontoons, fishing boats and runabouts are also popular.
Blue Creek Marina has a credit card machine on the pier so boaters needing gas can get it at any time.
The marina has regular hours on the weekends, but Pinson said he will also open for anyone who stops by while he is onsite between going to work on boats.
Inside the marina is a lake-themed gift shop featuring Blue Creek Marina T-shirts and lake house décor. Snacks are also sold.
In addition to working on boats, Pinson also does a lot of work on the boathouses on the lake.
“The main construction we do is boat lifts,” Pinson said.
Having a boat lift keeps the boat out of the water and keeps it from being damaged.
“The newer wakeboard boats now are pushing 8,000 pounds where originally the inboard ski boats were less than 3,000 pounds,” Pinson said.
He said this has changed the requirements for the boat lifts.
Boat space at the marina is rented by the month or by the year. The marina encourages customers to go ahead and rent for a year, which most do. Blue Creek is one of only two marinas on the lake that offer boat storage, and it stays full.