For every group of Reston residents floating around on a summer night on Lake Thoreau, there’s another party that’s stalled, swearing and sometimes, paddling to shore.
That’s why Erin Cloney has started a business to help the unique issues of Reston boat owners. Cloney has discovered, like so many Restonians, that the neighborhood pontoon and deck boats need special care.
Those boats mainly run on batteries and small motors, and those need special attention to work properly, he said. Many boat owners don’t realize until it is too late and they are out of power, said Cloney, who calls himself the company’s “Chief Problem Solver.”
“Everyone out there on the lake has problems,” said Cloney, a seven-year resident of Lake Thoreau. “And every spring, I tow people back.”
That’s how SolvTec LLC was formed. Cloney, an electrical and security engineer by day, has started this side business to keep Reston’s boats in, well, ship-shape.
For $20 ($30 if not on Lake Thoreau), he will come over and investigate your boat problem. He checks the motors, the batteries, even the electrical outlets, where the problem sometimes originates. Prices after that vary with the issue and the solution.
Cloney can also do small decking, lighting and upholstery repairs. He will even come tow you if you get stranded on your boat (and then of course help you fix the motor so it does not happen again). See a full list of services here.
The only thing Cloney can’t do is pull a boat out of the water — but he can call someone who can.
He says Reston’s boats run on standard marine batteries, and many Reston residents don’t “properly care for them” and they wear out quickly.
“The battery industry is kind of a scam,” he said. “The industry does not want them to last long. They want you to turn them in so they can recycle them.”
But most boat owners want to have a beer and float around the lake.
“They want to go out and have their glass of wine and not worry about how to get back,” said Cloney. ”
Photo courtesy Erin Cloney