Dealers say ethanol damage increases with drought

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Some boat dealers in states affected by drought and high temperatures say they’re seeing an increase in boats with ethanol damage.

“We’re seeing more boats affected by ethanol because the boats are sitting longer,” Jeff Seims, at Blue Springs Marine near Kansas City, Mo., told Soundings Trade Only. “They might use them once every month or two months, giving alcohol a chance to cause more damage to their boats.”

Seims says he and the staff try to persuade customers to use ethanol treatments all summer long, rather than just during winterization, but they’re not always successful.

When the ethanol has done damage, “the best case you can hope for is that you can clean out the carburetors and fuel pumps, but this year we’ve had complete fuel system failures, and you can go from a $400 bill to a couple thousand dollars or more, depending on how big the motor is,” Seims said.

“It’s frustrating because we try to educate the customers, and every boat we sell they have to sign a waiver about alcohol damage,” Seims said.

Despite their efforts, many customers aren’t aware that fuel that is 10 percent ethanol is mandatory in Missouri.

“We even had one of our state representatives come in with problems of alcohol damage, and we were able to say, ‘Here’s what your laws are doing to customers,’ ” Seims said. “Of course he said, ‘I didn’t vote for that!’ ”

Rod Malone, at Sail & Ski, with four locations in Texas, said last week that he took a boat back because of persistent issues because of ethanol.

“The customers just don’t understand, and pretty soon they just think it’s a lemon,” Malone told Soundings Trade Only. “They have no understanding or tolerance for issues they’re having with ethanol. They’re not sympathetic because they don’t have issues with their car. But they don’t let their cars sit for three or six weeks.”

“If you’re not using the boats you have a fuel deterioration problem, for sure, and the ethanol’s shelf life is less, so that’s an issue,” Malone said.

Read more about how the drought and record heat are affecting boat dealers in the September issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— Reagan Haynes


7 comments on “Dealers say ethanol damage increases with drought

  1. Boatboy1999

    So when will something be done? Where does the big manufactures come into play? Brunswick is ok with their motors being destroyed? Yamaha? BPR? Volvo Penta?

  2. Marilyn DeMartini

    We ALL have to be in touch with our legislators and representatives and entreat them to stop this ridiculous regulation–just because the EPA thinks it’s a good idea without having research to back it up. The evidence is clear there are no advantages, just damages–but the subsidies that are going to corn farmers and the ethanol lobbies are equally clear! After this summer’s drought, we are going to have to import corn to maintain the ethanol levels that the EPA requires! Does that make ANY sense?!

  3. Anthony Cavallo

    The E/P/A, our goverment, and all the Oil company’s,Don’t care, about Us, In the U/S/A, Why, because It is about $$$$$$$$$$$, how can we sqeez $$$$$ out of us.
    The U/S/ citizens,
    They will stop all this when one of there family member’s Get hurt from the ethanol, that will cause the fuel to blow the boat out of the water, Then we will have the water full of gas, then what is next?
    Chevron had a fire last week here in northern ca. The insurance company must pay for the damage, But the big comp. is charging 0.20
    more because of the damage, But all the oil company are charging more,
    WHY, $$$$$$$$$$ they will make Billions, on the Fire, Who is to blame?

    We as American’s should know what goes on behind closed doors, with all the big oil comp.

  4. Richard Strauss

    Boatboy1999, No! Brunswick, Volvo, BRP and Yamaha are not OK with the damage it causes! Further, ethanol causes damage upstream of the engines as well in fuel tanks, filters and fuel lines (even though newer lines are alcohol resistant). The engine manufacturers, like us, are forced into this situation by Washington! Unfortunaletly we are stuck dealing with this situation through our lethargic governmental process. As the article states, contact your state rep first and start working up the chain!

  5. boatboy1999

    Mr. Strauss…if thats the case,,then maybe Brunswick, Volvo, Yamaha, BRP, and every marine engine manufacture should shut down every engine plant across USA and tell the GOV that unless they listen….each manuf will be seeking a bailout from Washington whe they go belly up. What motors does Mr Romney have in his yacht? Anyone know where it is docked? Would be a shame if his engines suffered the same fate as what we have to tell our customers!

  6. fuelinggood

    Since 97% of all boat motors in service today were sold with a guarantee and/or warranty that they were compatible with 10% ethanol, why are we blaming the fuel?

  7. John Wayne Double

    When will this administration wise up?It cost more to produce ethanal the gas, and look at the destruction it courses!!Vote them out,lets go back to the greatest generation.USA USA SOS Save our States

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