Boat maintenance is absolutely essential to keep your prized possession in tip-top condition. Here’s the ultimate guide to boat maintenance.
Boating can be an expensive hobby, but it’s even more expensive if you don’t perform proper boat maintenance. You want to do everything within your power to keep your boat in the best condition, or you could be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs.
That’s why we encourage you to seriously consider the real cost of owning a boat before you purchase one – click that link to check out a comprehensive list of costs that will help you estimate to day-to-day running and maintenance costs of a boat, which will help you avoid some hidden costs.
If you’re worried that you won’t be able to take care of your boat, we are here to help. Keep reading this article to learn more about boat care and how to keep your boat in the best condition possible.
Setting Your Boat Up for Success
If you want to be a long time boat owner, you need to set your boat up for success. If you take good care of it, from making sure it is clean to checking the condition of its aluminum propellers, you’ll be sure to help your boat live a long life.
For the best results, you should create a schedule for all the things we are going to talk about in the information below. If you don’t schedule it, it’s likely it will go undone for far too long.
Regular maintenance will not only allow your boat to have a long life, but it will also ensure your utmost safety on the water.
Boat Exterior Cleaning
You want to have the nicest looking boat on the water, of course, but that isn’t the only reason to clean your boat’s exterior. A clean boat exterior means the finish of your boat will remain in good condition.
If you’re in saltwater, it’s especially important that you take care of your boat’s exterior with regular cleanings. Salt is very abrasive and can start causing problems with your boat if you don’t clean it off.
Maybe that’s not enough to make you clean your boat’s outside. What about stopping increased fuel costs? A dirty hull can cost you a lot of fuel, which will add up to hundreds and even thousands of dollars when you take your boat out frequently.
If you’re trying to clean your boat’s fiberglass, there are some best practices to follow.
The first thing you need to do is lookout for any areas that look chalky. The best way to prevent this from happening as much as possible is to wax or polish it with waxes that are designed to take care of the gel coat.
You should wax your boat when you first get it out for the season and right before you store it for the winter.
Store Your Boat Properly During the Off-Season
While it would be nice to boat all season, that’s just not going to work. If you try to boat when it is too cold, your boat could get damaged by the weather. You’ll need to winterize your boat, and depending on its size, you also might put it up in a dry storage building.
Here are some tips for different ways to store your boat.
Outdoor storage is pretty common, but you do need a proper cover for your boat – a large waterproof tarp works perfectly for this.
Or you may want to get a company to come and shrink wrap it for you. When they shrink wrap it the right way, your boat is protected, but it also has the ventilation it needs.
If you can store your boat in your garage, then this is a great option. Your boat will be protected from both the sun and the cold temperatures. If you don’t have a garage, then a storage building is a good option, or you can look for marinas that have dry storage buildings.
The dry storage buildings are usually equipped with racks, so they are known as dry-rack storage buildings. Depending on the height of the building, your boat could be flying high above you, and when it is time to get it down, they will have to pick it for you.
Leaving It On the Water
Leaving it out on the water is an option, and if you have a big boat, that’s usually what you’re going to do. Look for a harbor that allows you to store your boat there. Many of these places will have bubblers and de-icers that bring warm water up from the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about your boat getting damaged.
Take Care of the Engine
You always want to have a good boat mechanic on call, but there are many things you can do on your own. You can check your boat’s owner manual to see what they recommend, but here are a few of the basics.
- Check engine mount screw clamps for tightness and security
- Remove any debris from the water intake
- Check your propeller or damage, debris, or gunk
- Look at your fuel to make sure you have plenty and that the vent is open
- Replace spark plugs when needed
- Check for water in the fuel
- Watch engine’s oil levels
- Replace damaged fuel hoses
And you also need to learn how to flush the motor after every trip to get rid of any potential debris that might be in the motor.
Using Your Knowledge of Boat Maintenance
Now you know more about boat maintenance and how to keep your boat clean and in good running condition. Making sure everything is in order might be a little time consuming and costly, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Do you want to learn more about taking care of your boat and other key topics? Keep reading our blog to get the information you need, including this guide to skippering your own sailing holiday.