What typical mechanical issues should I be prepared for with my Nauticraft boat?

Pretty much general maintenance and repairs. You may need the assistance of a marina – preferably one that sells Minn Kota motors for the Electric Encore boats.

Does the drive belt loosen over time?

A new belt does take time to break in. You will need to adjust the belt accordingly from time to time, though be sure not to over-tighten it. Refer to your owner’s manual for instructions.

What tools do I need to maintain the boat?

There are few tools needed to maintain your boat- #2 & #3 Phillips screwdrivers, 7/32″ & 3/16″ hex drivers, and 3/4″ box wrench. Call us for details.

My drive belt appears to be loose. How do I tension it?

For boats manufactured after August 2019:

The black poly-V Drive Belt needs no adjustment (tension is maintained by a spring) and it should need little maintenance under normal use.

Initially while it is breaking in, the belt will slip some while pedaling forward.  Once broken in it shouldn’t slip with normal pedaling when going forward.  However, it will always slip some while pedaling backwards.

For boats manufactured prior to August 2019:

The proper tensioning is as follows (note that you can also refer to your Owner’s Manual):

Find the adjustment nut on the threaded rod underneath the drive unit. It is on the bow (front) side of the drive unit.

Loosen the retaining screw and turn the nut clockwise a turn or two. This should loosen the nut.

Turn the adjustment nut counter clockwise until it just starts to feel tight (This is the proper adjustment for belt tensioning; increased tightening of the nut will over-tension the belt and ultimately cause problems.).

Tighten the thumb set screw – this does not need to be over-tightened either as it only has to keep the nut from turning.

I have made all of the above adjustments and am still having problems with my drive belt skipping. What should I do next?

Contact us for further directions.  If need be, you can return the drive unit to us and we will rebuild it with replacement parts. If the boat is past warranty there will be a fixed charge for a rebuild; the cost of a replacement belt is not included in this charge.

How often will the belt need to be replaced?

The average life span of a drive belt is 3 – 5 years. Belts rarely fail completely and a new belt can be carried in the boat and replaced on the water with no tools needed.

We suggest keeping the extra belt in a sun-proof package, not a clear plastic bag.

Sometimes, if the belt has been stretched for a long time by overtightening, taking it off and turning it around helps. You can take the belt off and put it back on without taking the drive unit out of the boat.

How do I get back to shore if my belt breaks?

In that unlikely event there are two possible answers – carry a spare belt(easily replaced in about a minute) and always carry a paddle for emergencies (our recommendation here).

My boat is sitting very low in the water - what's wrong?

You may have water in the bilge (Escapade- pump bilge pump to remove water). Or you may have water in the keel cavity (Encore- remove boat from water, drain keels).

How do I drain the keels? How often does this need to be done (for Encore & Sprite models)?

Usually this is done at the end of the season- remove the drain plug bolts at the back of each keel(near bottom), you may need to poke a small stick or wire in the hole to free any foreign material blocking the hole.

Why is there water in the boat below the drive-unit and driveshaft?

This is by design, and is part of the self-bailing feature of the Encore and Sprite boats. The normal level is just below the lower rearward pulley, but can vary according to how the boat is loaded with gear or passengers.

What should I use to clean my boat?

The interior and exterior plastic surfaces can be cleaned with a household cleaner such as Fantastic or 409 Cleaner. You may also use a power washer for mud and more ground-in dirt and debris, though you must avoid the drive unit. It is a good idea to remove the seats and cushions prior to power washing.

We have also used a non-abrasive cleanser with bleach, such as Soft Scrub, to get at those really grungy spots.

We recommend using water or window cleaner and a very soft cloth to clean the windshield. Use particular care, as being plastic, it scratches fairly easily. If it does get scratched, you might try a clear plastic scratch remover such as Meguiar’s Plast-X.

The seat covers are a marine grade vinyl, and the manufacturer recommends using a mild soap (like Ivory) and water for cleaning. Harsh household cleaners like those listed above are not recommended for marine grade vinyl.

Commercial cleaning products short of soap and water are not recommended due to potential chemical incompatibility that may alter the service life of the vinyl.

Do I need to winterize my boat?

First of all, we highly recommend storing your boat inside. We would also suggest that you drain the keels or bilge and cover the boat to keep the debris out. If you have an electric boat, we suggest disconnecting the battery after charging it fully and attaching a trickle charger.

Drain the bilge water from the keels (Encore and Escapade) or fully pump the water from the Escapade; and sponge out the balance of the water from the Escapade’s bilge. Cover the boat tightly to keep dirt, moisture and small squirrels out.

Is there someplace I can obtain information on replacement parts?

Yes. You can access our website and refer to our parts listing page.

Who should I contact when I need replacement parts?

You may contact us directly at the factory either via E-mail at: inquiry@nauticraft.com or via phone at: 231-798-8440.

What is the warranty and how are repairs handled?

Nauticraft Corporation warrantees its pedal/electric crafts for a period of two years (24 months) from date of purchase. Nauticraft will repair or replace any parts that fail due to defects in material or workmanship, except the Drive Belt. The Warranty does not cover damage due to abuse or neglect, nor boats that are used for commercial purposes. Warranty is non-transferable.

Failed part returned to the Nauticraft factory will be replaced or repaired at company discretion.

Electrical parts (if applicable) – See manufacturers > warranties.

In regards to how repairs are handled: You should first refer to your owner’s manual as it will provide you with much beneficial information. If you still have questions, you can call us directly at the factory and we will walk you through any repairs that need to be handled. If need be, parts may be returned to us here and we will work on them accordingly.