An experienced and reliable professional with a reputation for honesty and fairness
Expert Advice with Furlong Speed & Marine
An interview with founder George Furlong
About Furlong Speed & Marine
Furlong Speed & Marine is a marine restoration and customization company based in Ipswich. When owner George Furlong was a teenager, he found himself constantly working on his parent’s boats and cars in his driveway. George works on all types of boats, from engine tune ups and overhauls to aftermarket installs and winterization, George gained most of his experience from his father and time spent working as a technician. George says he started the business to prove that there is an honest, fairly priced alternative to what he calls “stealerships.”
What practical advice do you have for boat owners in maintaining their boat and equipment?
A lot of people have an opinion on certain brands of boats and how they either break easily or are so expensive to fix. The key is maintenance. Proper maintenance will keep your boat in tip top shape. Staying on top of routine fluid and filter changes is huge. It is also very important to make sure boats are stored properly for winter—fully serviced, cleaned, and covered, and stored in an area that allows proper drainage in case of any water or moisture intrusion.
Another huge thing on my list is making sure fiberglass and paint is protected. Every time my boat is used, I spend about an hour washing it and flushing salt out the motor. I leave my boat on a mooring in Salem Harbor, so sometimes it is hard to get every inch clean, but pre-season detailing and routine washes can help keep the gel coat shining. Most boaters probably notice that as their boat sits in the sun for a long period of time, the fiberglass begins to feel chalky and look dull. My biggest piece of advice regarding boat detailing and refinishing is that if you spend the money once, at the beginning of the season on a full detail, don’t assume the boat will stay clean all season. Weekly washes are a huge step in keeping up with detailing as they keep contaminants off the surface.
What cleaning products do you use the most?
I generally like to carry a spray bottle of Simple Green as it is a great all-purpose cleaner, cleans without destroying, and is safe and biodegradable for our environment. That in combination with a couple microfibers and a good eco-friendly boat soap can go a long way! Some boat soaps are also coupled with wax, so they’re adding multiple layers of protection as you wash your already professionally waxed/detailed boat. A clean boat is a happy boat!
What is your favorite type of engine to service?
I can’t say I really have a favorite engine to work on but I do enjoy the simplicity of working on most outboards. An outboard is the first engine I ever worked on with my father, so it’s nice to remember all the things he taught me while working on them.
Why is it important to stay up to date with your engine service?
Scheduled maintenance is one of the most important things you can do for your boat. Not only does it extend its life, but it also prevents expensive repair costs and increases safety as it cuts down on the chances of breaking down while on the water with your family. Breaking down on the water without the proper equipment can turn a great day with the family into a scary experience in seconds.
What are some important tips you recommend when trailering a boat?
I always use proper straps and tie downs when trailering. Keeping the boat safely secured to the trailer is always at the top of my list. I also always carry my grease gun with me. Wheel bearings should be greased periodically and tires should be inflated to proper spec to help prevent blowouts and or wheel loss. Taking a couple extra minutes to make sure your components are in good shape can go a long way. Whatever you put behind your vehicle is your responsibility, and you need to make sure it’s safe for travel for you and others you share the road with.
About the Founder, George Furlong
How did you start your business?
The start of my company was all fueled by passion to be honest. I’ve always had a knack for boats and for the sound of pretty much any engine. The only flaw with this is that I never had a garage to work in. The business started with tools given to me by my Dad, and a $200 harbor freight tent! With this tent and tools, we started tinkering on neighbors boats, classmates’ cars, and as they say, the rest is history!
How did you grow it?
The few customers and neighbors who have given me business and supported me by word of mouth are what really keeps the growth of my business alive. The neighbors who have supported my boat cleaning, loud engines, and floodlights in the yard are what helped me grow. They showed interest in my hobbies and spread the word about my projects, and it went a really long way. My business is still a seed that gets watered everyday by the love and support of the community.
What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about my customers. Anyone that knows me knows that, for me, work always comes before play. They also know that I take my work and every job very personally. It’s not just a 9:00-5:00, and frankly it’s never just a 9:00-5:00. What makes me passionate is that most customers will never see what goes on after hours, or how late the lights in my shop are on, or some of the many sleepless nights to get jobs done. I’m most passionate about that because to them they may just be getting work done on their boat, but to me, it’s a new puzzle that I get to fix each time. I love the trust that they instill in me and the gratification I get from saving them a lot of money while still being able to provide for myself. The relationships I have built with customers is what really drives me. It truly is all about them.
What are you complimented on most in your work?
The compliments in my work usually have to do with my attention to detail and my honesty. People come to me because they know I will tell them like it is. If I wouldn’t run something on my boat, I wouldn’t put it on yours. I have no problem pointing out an issue a customer has with their boat, but I’m not going to sell you on something you don’t need right away. Obviously it’s a gamble when going to a repair shop that probably says the same thing, but if you ask my customers, they’ll say they go to me because I’m honest. At a young age, I was taught to do things once, and do them right. I intend to do just that every day on whatever job I take on!
Do you own a boat?
Owning a boat is an addiction for me, and it’s almost impossible for me to own just one. If you see me heading towards Misery Island, chances are I am in my fully restored 1977 Blackfin Yacht On the Run with my trusty 1983 13’ Boston Whaler Lil Dragon in tow! If there’s that chance I’m not on the ocean for the day, you can either find me surfing or boarding on my Malibu watersports boat, or running across the lake for the Poker Run in my 1991 Baja Bandit!