We went to Virginia with the sole purpose of filming How-To Videos at Norfolk Marine, but the most interesting thing I encountered there was the Counter of Shame. This collection of busted pieces-parts is a sampling of the destroyed engine parts which the service department decided to hang onto, for one reason or another. And looking through them, you can get a great idea of how not to care for your boat.

Lenny peruses the Counter of Shame at Norfolk Marine in Virginia.

Fried water pump impellers were scattered throughout the counter, reminding us that the impellers should be changed at least once every three seasons and that you can extend the impeller’s lifespan by regularly flushing your outboard with freshwater after every use. An exhaust tuner, corroded through and through, also reminds us of how important that freshwater flush is. There was a fuel filter so rusted away it had a hole in it the size of a quarter, indicating that the salt has to be removed from other metal parts, as well. Earth to saltwater boaters: use lots and lots of freshwater — often.

The coolest item on the Counter of Shame was, without a doubt, a small four-blade prop with little nubs where the blades used to be. As Norfolk Marine President Jason Murphy explained, the prop had been used by a skiff which emergency personnel ran for search-and-rescue operations during a storm, which flooded downtown Norfolk. In fact, they ran it right down Granby Street — home to Dominion Marine Media and boats.com — with just enough water under the hull to keep the prop from digging into asphalt. Most of the time. So the final lesson we learned at the Counter of Shame was not to run your boat down the street, unless you absolutely, positively have to.

See our discussion at the Counter of Shame on video here: