Owner's Manual Question

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Doug Patillo

Well-Known Member
Mar 21, 2001
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I need your help and opinions with this one: I am thinking about creating 2 mannuals for each new boat. The first would be a general manual, with such things as: owners responsibilities, boat safety, emergency procedures, rules of the road, trailering, launching/loading, getting underway, general operating procedures and maintenance/care (including cleaning, storing, etc.).
The next manual would be brand specific. There would be a manual for Nitros and inside I would start with general Nitro items and then get boat specific, including diagrams, etc.
This way, instead of 1 manual with 200-225 pages, there would be 2 manuals, with 100 pages each, or something like that.
What do you all think?
Thanks. Once I get the manuals written and printed they will be available to anyone. I will give you more info on that as it becomes available. It will be a while though---my first priority is the Tahoe manunal, since they dont have any manual, they get a Nitro manual instead.
Good idea, however, I remember getting this huge package when I picked up my boat...trailer, lights, steering, engine, depht finders, extinguisher manuals....etc.

I would like to see a manual consolidating all of these items. I understand this is quite an undertaking and may not even be possible for most manufacturers, but due to Tracker's volumes, they should be able to offer everything as one product manual. If this was the case, I would agree that two manuals could work, but as it is, it would add another book to read and keep...

My 02 cents.

Doug - As one of those folks who bought my Tracker as my First real boat, I would like the 2 book setup, with the first one would also include basic boat functions that I as a novice had to keep asking the service mangaer to show me, such as: How does Tilt/Trim work (i.e. what to set the motor at start, when do you trim up/trim down) How do the livewell switches work (that might have to be brand/model specific since i know Tracker/Nitro has at least 2-3 different switches), does the Key turn on just the motor or everyother electronic options.

As a technical writer in a prior life (for software) I might suggest a 3 ring binder with sections tabs, so you could have the 1 book that Pierre would like but it would be seperated into major sections so in my next boat I could just focus on the sections I need to know. This would also make it easier to keep on the boat for referrence.

Doug, I think your idea is excellent, from both a customer and business perspective. Many things about a new boat apply to all models and can be covered in a single, non-model specific book if there is a separate volume for model specific information.

I have a second boat, a Carver sedan bridge. The Carver came with a three ring binder with the Carver name/logo on the cover. Inside the binder are tabbed sections, each for a major area (operating procedures, maintenance, wiring, etc.) Some of the sections are clearly generic, but many are boat and even model year specific. Because it is a three ring binder, Carver can change any portion of documentation from year to year without having to replubish an entirely new manual. They just get rid of pages or chapters that are no longer relevant, and can add new informaton.


-The warranty wording changes from one model year to the next. No need to print new manuals. Just update that page.

-Some switchgear or gauges are changed out to a different brand. No new manual needed. Just update the pages in question.

- Somebody at the factory comes up with a new maintenance procedure for keeping the carpet looking good. Just add a page to the binder.

- One "Tracker Marine" binder design could be used for all of the Tracker brands. No need for different printing runs for each brand or model. If Tracker develops or acquires a new brand, it's just a matter of putting new content inside an existing binder.

Also, another thing I like about my Carver manual is that I can add documentation (third party articles, coast guard papers, insurance documents, loan documentation, etc.) to this binder and it's my complete record for the boat.

Don't know how the cost implications would play out, since I don't know your volume issues.

For what it's worth.
Trepman, sorry for repeating some of what you wrote...didn't read the entire thread before shooting my mouth off!
You guys are killing me here! If you keep giving me all of these great ideas, I'm never going to get anything accomplished...I keep changing my mind on how I want to produce the manual. Actually I love all of the ideas and keep them coming.
Rich: I really like the idea of the binder and am going to run it by my boss next week. Would love to do it, but the quantity of manuals that we produce may be a problem (over 25,000).
You all are giving me great ideas and when it comes down to the end and the book gets printed, I will pay you all back...guaranteed!
Great idea Doug, i am on my fourth Tracker/Nitro product, TV17, 190DC, 896Savage, now a 901CDX, the books I redieved with my 901 are not even currect for my 896, really sucks to be truthfull.

I am a ASE master truck tech, service manager myself, do most of my own work on everthing, so woudl be very helpfull for me.

Looking forward to your input here, whould be good for all concerned. Welcome aboard.

I have had nothing but good to say about all the contacts I have made at the company, so i anticipate nothing but good with your participation here. I have had a lot of contact with one person in particular, you may or may not know him, I think he used to work in the same area you are in, Rick Emmitt, if you do know him and get a chance tell him CLiff Van Beek said HI!!
I agree, the 2 manual idea is excellent. Give LOTS of general info. It would seem that a very large percentage of Tracker buyers are first time owners it something like that would be a great help.

I love the idea of the 3 ring binder. My TV-18 is still on order and I havn't seen the manual yet but what kind of media is it printed on? Is it water proof, water resistant or laminated? I would hate to be stuck on the lake, relying on my manual to help me out of jam and sure enough the page I need is soking wet, stuck to another page or the ink all ran into a blurr. If you drop it, will it float?