To ensure your friends and family’s safe and secure marine trips full of heartwarming memories, it is imperative that you keep your vessel well-maintained.
Fortunately, if done routinely, boat maintenance isn’t a demanding task. Some crucial maintenance tasks that take only a few minutes of your time will end up saving hundreds of dollars that you would have been compelled to otherwise waste in a repair job.
So, let’s dive deep and discuss 12 boat maintenance tips that will help you keep your boat in good condition for years. Let’s begin!
boat maintenance Tips
1. Create your own maintenance checklist
First and foremost, it is imperative for all boat owners to come up with their own checklist. With different brands, models, types, and customization of boats, your boat most probably demands specific maintenance on top of general care.
Boat maintenance will vary depending on where you keep your boat – water or trailer, how often you use the vessel, and how far offshore you make your trips.
2. Winterize with utter care:
When it’s time to winterize, many boaters are prone to making simple and silly yet costly mistakes, such as not draining off the water inside pipes and cooling systems.
The expansion of water due to freezing can cause the exterior to burst. In a nutshell, remember that anything that contains water must be drained before winterization.
Also, take as much washable stuff as you can from your boat interior such that you can wash, dry, and store them in a nice, clean, and warm space at your home.
3. Check your boat propellor before your trips:
You must make sure that your boat propellor is nice and working before your offshore trips. Check if a fishing line is wrapped on your prop or if there is any damage on it.
A damaged propellor can not only be fuel-inefficient but can lead to dreadful situations, especially if you’re out on a long voyage. Therefore, always be one step ahead when it comes to prop maintenance. Make sure that your boat prop is nice, clean, and efficient.
4. Keep your boat bottoms clean and maintained:
The bottom part of your boat that is heavily exposed to the water is notorious for being dirty and attracting all sorts of algae, plants, and worms. Take Barnacles for an example – they form hard shells over the bottom and reduce your boat’s overall speed.
Not cleaning and maintaining your bottoms are also associated with engine overheating issues and intake holes being plugged.
Therefore, as dirty bottoms are not only associated with aesthetic issues but also with more severe internal issues, boaters often paint the bottom with toxic copper-containing paint. This point inhibits unwanted growth and buildups.
Also, instead of using gel paint, make sure you use a barrier coat impermeable to water for your boat bottom. Gel paint is typically porous and, therefore, disintegrates and blisters over long-term underwater use.
Also, hire a professional or occasionally take a manual approach to clean your boat bottom. Moreover, replace your boat anodes, also called sacrificial anodes, annually or when half of them are eroded.
5. Service your engine annually
When it comes to boat engines, there isn’t much you can do by yourself unless you’re a boat engine specialist. So, let professional service your boat engine and asks them question if there is any onset of future issues that you should be worrying about.
Also, don’t wait till summer to get your boat serviced as servicing agencies will be booked for days during this time. Be proactive and book the service as soon as possible for hassle-free boating in the coming summer.
Moreover, talk to the experts if you’ve noticed any abnormality in the boat; it may be a different noise or vibrations. Such encounters might probably hint towards future problems, so take care of them as quickly as possible.
6. Make sure your battery is up and running for the next season
Ensure that the connections to and from your battery are tight and free of corrosion. Charge your battery before every trip and make sure it is holding up the charge decently. Make sure that your boat battery is safely stored in a frame and mounted to the boat securely.
Moreover, in case you’ll not be making trips for some time, disconnect your boat batteries from the system. This way, the boat system won’t be able to drain your batteries while not in use.
If you often forget or simply aren’t being able to attend to your charging batteries on time, a maintenance battery charger will be a great help to you as you can leave it connected to your batteries for long without any issues.
7. Check your oil quarterly
Make sure you keep an eye on your boat oil a few times a week. Whenever you notice the color getting darker, it’s time for you to change the oil.
Generally, it is recommended that you change your fuel oil at least three to four times a year. In fact, some manufacturers recommend their customers to change oil every 50 to 100 hours of operation on heavily used vessels for maximum efficiency. Read your operation manual for accurate information.
8. Check your fuel line and fuel filters a few times a year
Check your fuel lines to make sure that fuel is flowing properly. The line mustn’t be crimpled or perished.
Moreover, if fuel is gummed up over time in the line, these particles can be hazardous to your boat motor. Try to clean the fuel line if possible and if not, fuel line replacement is essential to preclude further damage.
Also, not replacing your fuel filters when needed might result in engine issues. Fuel filters get dirty very quickly. Therefore, ensure that you’re changing your boat fuel filter at least once a year.
9. Check your motor discharge
There should always be a steady discharge out of the hole on top of your outboard every time you run the motor.
If not, it is an alarming indication that your boat cooling system has been blocked, which will later result in engine overheating issues and potentially destroy the engine. Therefore, check your motor discharge regularly and contact a professional in case of any issues.
10. Ensure that your boat’s electrical and plumbing system is nice and working:
Finally, don’t discount on maintaining your boat’s electrical and plumbing system. Issues in these systems during your boat trips can be a real hassle.
Ensure that your electrical lines are tight and working. Clean corrosions in any terminals my brushing off. Check if there are any faulty lights and check critical points in the system using a voltmeter.
The same is the case for plumbing. Check major plumbing joints for any issues. Or, if you don’t have spare time on your hand, getting your boat’s electrical and plumbing system inspected by a professional from time to time is always the smartest idea.
11. Cleaning and polishing:
While you make sure that your internal boat machinery is working fine, it is imperative to pay attention to your boat exterior as well.
Clean your boat exterior and interior with fresh water after every trip to remove any seawater salt buildup, as it might be corrosive to your boat, especially the engine.
Moreover, clean your boat once every two weeks using a boat cleaner. You can use dedicated boat cleansers available commercially or save a few bucks by using DIY boat cleaning solutions.
Remember that if your boat hull is painted, do not use steel wool or other abrasive cleansers for your boat cleaning. Look for a wax-based cleaning method or mild cleansers that won’t harm the chemical integrity of your boat gel paint.
Finally, polish your boat to bring back the newness. A fiberglass boat requires seasonal polishing to maintain its gel coat, and if you have time on hand, it is definitely a great idea to save a significant amount of money by doing the waxing on your own using wax and an electric buffer.
12. Wipe off moisture from your boat:
After a good rinse with fresh water each day, make sure you wipe off excess moisture from your boat. Doing so is essential to ensure that there aren’t any waterline streaks and stains.
You can also leave your boat dehumidifier and heater on if you’re worried about moisture issues. Make sure all the cabin and locker doors are open and there’s a nice airflow within the boat.
In order to protect and maintain your vinyl upholstery, make sure you use vinyl protectants on them and allow each of the upholstery sides to get some air and dry every once in a while.
If done routinely, maintaining your boat isn’t that difficult task to do. It will help you prevent hundreds of dollars in repairs, as you’ll be able to prevent and pinpoint the issues much sooner.
We hope this post was insightful, and you could get a brief overview of how to maintain your boats. Share with us your favorite boat maintenance tip/hack!