Boat Maintenance 101
Keeping your boat in good shape is ultimately the best way to make sure that you can keep it operating well for as long as possible, and will save you headaches, and a lot of money. You need to take good care of your boat otherwise it will fall into disrepair and will become unusable without a huge amount of work having to be done, so it’s much better to perform basic maintenance on a routine basis in order to prevent disastrously bad repairs from being needed.
To keep things simple, we’ve divided up the maintenance tasks into four sections; the first section will cover what you will need to do pretty much every time you use your boat; the second section will go over what you will need to do every couple of months, the third will discuss maintenance that you will need to do at least once every year, and the final section will cover tips for seasonal storage. (Please note that the more frequently you use your boat the more frequently you will need to perform all of these tasks).
Routine Basic Upkeep
There are quite a few tasks that you will need to do every time you use your boat. It’s recommended that you do these before you launch, but it’s not a bad idea to do it every time you’re done using the boat as well just in case there was any damage. Also, you should probably keep a checklist of these tasks to make sure you do it every time, if you forget and something bad happens it will be difficult to get over the sting.
- Check the propellor and hull for damage, and repair if necessary.
- Check that the fire extinguishing system and electric systems are operational.
- Check the oil and top it off, if necessary.
- Check the bilge pump, clean if necessary.
- Wash the hull and deck.
Several Times Each Year
These tasks don’t need to be done every time you use your boat, but if you’ve used your boat a couple of times for around 20 – 50 hours total, these maintenance tasks will likely be necessary. First, clean the boat’s interior, and you should wax and polish the hull and desk. Second, treat the fuel with a decarbonizer. Third, you should check the engine for proper RPM, as well as check the fuel lines, and the steering system fluid level.
As mentioned earlier, if you use your boat very frequently then you may have to perform these yearly tasks more often, perhaps twice or even three times per year. Also, please note that the warmer the weather is the more wear and tear your boat will experience. First, tighten all accessible bolts and fasteners, lubricate grease points, touch up paint, check the rub rail for damage, as well as check the mounts for the engine. Next, replace the water pump impeller, and the oil and fuel filters. Finally, it is strongly recommended that you have an inspection done by a professional mechanic.
Obviously, you’re not going to be using your boat every day, or for the whole year, so it goes without saying that you’re going to be keeping it in storage for long durations on a routine basis throughout the year, particularly during the wintertime. It’s important to keep in mind that simply sitting outside unused for long periods can do as much damage to the boat as days worth of activity. Whether you’re storing your boat outdoors or indoors, you can follow these tips for best storage practices:
- Completely clean the interior and exterior of the boat.
- Fill the fuel tank at least 90% to reduce the risk of water condensation, and add anti-bacterial stabilizing agents to the fuel to prevent contamination.
- Disconnect the battery and store it in a cool area that is above freezing temperature (such as the basement, garage, or attic).
- Keep the boat covered with a tarp. Remove all electronics or other belongings from the boat.
- Remove all food from the boat, and keep the refrigerator door open to prevent odor buildup
- Flush the water lines and water tanks. Open the drain plugs. Leave water faucets and valves open.
Following through on the advice we’ve given here will be very important to make sure that your boat stays in good condition, however as noted earlier, it is imperative that you get your boat inspected by a professional mechanic on a routine basis. If you’d like more information about getting into boating, check out what we have for sale, or contact us today!