A spike in boat sales over the last 10 years should have many consumers thinking about proper boat maintenance. Without it, the 286,000 purchased annually could be heading toward some very troubled waters in a relatively short amount of time.
In the following article, we’ll be looking at the nine maintenance moves that every boat owner should make to ensure smooth sailing ahead. Let’s begin!
1. Commit to Engine Checks
The first thing you’ll want to ensure as you become the owner of a motorboat is engine care. Particularly, you’ll want to pay attention to oil and filters.
With cars, you typically base oil changes on a mileage basis. Boats more routinely use hours of operation.
The typical motorboat should undergo an oil change every 50 hours, 100 at the most. Additionally, pay attention to other fluids like the steering and coolant.
2. Remove Wax Before Applying New Coats
Another aspect of taking care of a boat is the cosmetic aspect. No one wants to cruise around in a boat that looks like it should have been retired years ago.
Continue to make your boat a source of pride by helping it maintain its luster on the outside. Do this by regularly washing and waxing.
On the wax, do your best to remove old wax before applying the new coats. You can do this with a mixture of water and liquid detergent. From there, dry thoroughly and begin the new application.
3. Shift to Battery Care During Dormant Periods
If you’re like most boat owners, you’ll want to be out on it every chance that you get. That can be year-round if you live in a temperate climate. For more seasonal areas, though, off-seasons become more of a factor.
Battery care is important during both time periods, especially given the reality that these break down over time. For the off-season, check your battery’s charge once or twice using a digital multimeter. (More often if using the battery regularly.)
One additional thing that can affect battery performance is corrosion on the connectors. Keep a wire brush handy to knock off as much of it as you can if the power levels are still good but performance is suffering.
4. Keep Fuel Tank Filled
Keeping your fuel level topped off is a good idea, especially during periods of heavy use. For starters, it keeps you from running out of fuel when away from home. Additionally, it helps keep moisture out of the tank, which can negatively impact your boat’s performance.
Another way to keep moisture out of the fuel tank is to use fuels blended with ethanol. Also, consider employing fuel filters designed to separate water.
5. Dry Off Your Boat Regularly
Keeping the boat as dry as possible will prevent many of the problems that come with excess moisture. You’ll find that you do not have to touch up the gel coat and wax as much, nor will you have to do as much floor care. It will aid in keeping the fuel tank free of water as well (see No. 4).
6. Get Proactive Against Moisture
Some moisture solutions go beyond keeping a full tank and drying off. The nature of boating can make it difficult to take care of all the problems as they arise. It’s possible, over time, for mold spores and other issues to develop.
Of course, mold is one of those worst-case scenarios that can affect the looks, stability, and operation of your boat. You can take a proactive stance against mold by using white vinegar-based solutions to break down and kill spores.
Another vital piece of moisture-related boat care is to keep the hoses connected to your bilge pump clear of clogs and debris. A faulty bilge pump makes it difficult to dispense water from the bottom of the boat and can increase the likelihood of your boat sinking.
7. Maintain Propellers and Rigging
The propellers on a motorboat are susceptible to sea trash, fishing lines, and gunk build-up. When that happens, you can experience issues navigating or getting the proper power out of your boat. Work with a friend to remove your propeller(s) every few trips to clean out the shaft and address any noticeable issues.
8. Monitor for Corrosion
No matter which types of boats that you own, most can be subject to corrosion. This can greatly affect looks and performance.
Corrosion develops on metal surfaces, which can be problematic both internally and externally. Examine the boat closely at least once a month. Look for problem areas, and keep a wire brush handy to knock away what you can.
Keep a wire brush handy to knock away what you can. Also, look into protective coatings for external sources.
9. Check Your Electrical
Electrical components can give out, causing operational issues, fire hazards, and engine failures. The last thing you want is for one of these to hit when you’re out in the middle of the water.
Electrical performance can be gauged through the use of a digital multimeter. Use this to check the battery, wiring, and other electrical components at least once per season.
Boat storage is another factor that you’ll want to consider year-round but especially during off-seasons. There are two major considerations to look for here. The first is climate control.
Proper boat and trailer storage are easier to achieve when you can manage the environmental conditions. Warm, dry locations will help protect against moisture when the boat is not in use.
Furthermore, choosing a location that grants proper access and convenience. This will ensure that you can get to your boat when you need to do scheduled maintenance or head out for a day on the water.
Boat Maintenance Is Vital to Performance
Proper boat maintenance will ensure that your boat continues to operate for years without needing to do any major repairs or replacements. That means paying close attention to battery, electrical components, moisture threats, and proper storage.
Following the nine guidelines, we’ve shared above will keep it looking great and performing well season after season. For more vehicle maintenance tips, check out some of our additional posts!