Taking your boat out on the water is a great way to spend your time. However, many people buy a boat without knowing precisely what that entails. As a result, there is a good chance you’ll spend a lot more time on maintenance tasks and repairs than you anticipated. Before investing in a boat, consider these six maintenance tasks you’ll need to keep up with.
1. Dock Maintenance
No matter where you use your boat, the docks should be in good condition. That can spell serious maintenance. Depending on your setup, the bulk of this may or may not be your responsibility. For example, if you trailer it to a public boat ramp for every use, you will probably have very little to do with upkeep.
However, if you opt for the convenience of keeping your boat at a private slip, then you’ll want to ensure that everything is in top shape. Regularly inspect the decking for rot and mold. Consider adding protection to pilings and edges your boat directly contacts. A high-quality dock fender should do the trick by limiting wear on your boat’s finish and helping to reduce damage to the dock.
2. Washing the Exterior
You probably wash your vehicle regularly, but you may not realize that you’ll have to do the same to a boat. You should plan on thoroughly washing a boat each time you remove it from the water. If you keep it in one place, that can be minimized. However, if you often visit different bodies of water, you may spend more time scrubbing than you imagined.
There are several reasons for washing your boat’s exterior. For starters, it helps maintain the factory finish and keeps the vessel looking nice. It also eliminates algae and anything else trying to attach itself to your hull. This limits the risk of bringing an invasive species to your next location or getting caught at an inspection station.
3. Service the Engine
Even if you lack mechanical skills, there are a few things you can do to check your engine throughout the season. For example:
- Inspect the propeller for tangled fishing line
- Remove debris from the water intake
- Tighten any loose mounting screws and clams
- Fill fuel tanks and ensure vents are open
- Check oil levels and top off as needed
4. Check the Batteries
The batteries in your boat provide power for the engine and any electronics onboard. Marine batteries are designed to handle rough conditions others wouldn’t fare well in, especially if you take your boat in saltwater. Even so, they still degrade over time. Therefore, inspecting the batteries at least once a season is a good idea. Check the charge of your batteries using a digital multimeter and inspect the terminals for corrosion. Address any issues as soon as they arise to avoid getting stranded on the water.
5. Wipe Down Your Seats
There’s a good chance you’ll have upholstered seats on whatever boat you purchase. These require special care to keep them in good shape. Wipe them down after every trip to remove any spray on them. If the cushions get wet, you’ll want to wait until they are dry before covering the boat. You can also remove the cushions and store them somewhere dry.
Use a commercial cleaner to get dirt and grime off the upholstery. A conditioner can also help limit UV damage and keep them from falling victim to wet conditions.
6. Arrange Off-Season Storage
If you live in an area where your boat will not get year-round use, you must make storage plans. Many boat owners use a boat-specific space at their regular marina. However, you can keep your boat at some storage facilities or at your house if neighborhood regulations allow it. Be aware of what type of storage you want—covered or uncovered.
A boat can bring you hours of enjoyment and relaxation. However, you should know about the required maintenance before making a purchase. It’s a good idea to plan to spend time keeping it clean, inspecting the engine and battery, and ensuring it is kept in appropriate conditions.
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