7 Boat Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Vessel in Tip-Top Shape
If you own a boat of any kind, you surely know the immense importance of proper boat maintenance.
As with automobiles, if you want to keep your vehicle in optimum condition to ensure longevity, you must do certain things on a regular basis. Some things should be checked and tended to on a weekly regimen; other things should be done at the beginning or end of each season. Savvy boat owners perform boat maintenance on a schedule and with great consistency and are rewarded for these efforts in the long term.
If you are new to boat ownership, you may not yet know every aspect of boat maintenance. If you are looking for a comprehensive guide, you came to the right place. Read on for our complete list of boat maintenance task suggestions, and for our recommendations on frequency, too.
Boat Maintenance: An Act of Love
Boat owners today are pretty lucky when it comes to boat maintenance. Most boats on the water today are made from fiberglass or aluminum and possess a modern, high-powered engine. These materials and propulsion systems are easy to maintain in comparison to the wooden boats and unreliable motors of the past.
Some boat owners hate the idea of boat maintenance, but in time, most learn to love it. After all, it's a chance to get to know your boat better. During extensive boat maintenance sessions, you will lay eyes upon and will touch every inch of your boat and it will deepen your connection to it. You will become a better boat owner and captain as a result.
Taking good care of your boat is truly an act of love, and your boat will last longer and perform better in direct proportion to the time and love you put into it.
Your boat engine is so important; you can't get out there on the water without it. Keeping your engine in top condition will not only ensure that you'll have many good times ahead, but it will keep you and your passengers safe, too.
Most boat engines require service every hundred hours or annually, but check out your marine engine's owner's manual for specific information for your engine. Annual maintenance generally consists of an oil and filter change and drainage and replacement of the engine lubricant. You may also need new spark plugs or belts, and the shop should do an overall check as well.
Many boat owners choose to do this maintenance at the end of the season before putting the boat in storage. That way, everything is good to go when it's time to get out there again, and the shop can winterize it for you as well. If you live somewhere where you can and do use your boat all year, you will need a few of these services over the course of each twelve-month period.
These services aren't cheap, but it's worth it to take it to a shop for best results. In most areas, the cost of an annual maintenance visit for a marine will run you between $250 and $500 on average.
In between visits, remember to look over your engine from time to time to look for cracked hoses and other issues. Check the oil and top it off. Make sure your propeller is in working order with no cracks, debris, or bent blades. Also, if you use your boat on saltwater, you will need to flush the engine with fresh water after each and every time you use it. This is a nice little guide to your boat engine maintenance
The hull is the body of your boat and is what keeps you afloat. Therefore, you need to do all you can to make sure it stays in pristine shape. Not only does a clean hull look great, but it performs better on the water, too.
If your boat has a fiberglass hull like most boats, you can keep it maintained by hosing it down after use and by applying wax and polish. Use non-toxic materials when possible; you don't want to pollute the water you love. Most boat owners wax and polish their boat's hull twice a year - once in the spring and once before storage.
You should also check your hull for cracks and wear and tear on a regular basis throughout the season. It's much easier to address a problem when it has just begun than down the road when it has become a big issue.
Electrical and Plumbing Maintenance
Keeping your boat's battery maintained is also important. You need your battery to start your engine and to run various electrical components. As with an automotive battery, you should check your battery's charge and power multiple times a year. Batteries degrade over time and you don't want to find out your battery is dead the hard way. Depending on how much you use your boat, you will probably need to replace the battery every couple of years.
If your boat has a bathroom and running water, you will also need to do regular plumbing maintenance as well. As every boat owner knows, there is nothing that gets clogged more than an on-board bathroom, but the frequency can be reduced somewhat with regular maintenance.
Furthermore, if your boat has a bilge pump, you need to make sure it stays in working order as well; if it fails your boat could sink. Check your bilge pump twice a year for faulty hoses and for clogs and consider adding a second bilge pump for peace of mind.
Although it's not crucial to the operation of your boat, you'll also want to perform regular maintenance on the deck, deck area, and foredeck area. You should take time to rinse and wipe down the deck and foredeck after almost every use of your boat, and you should give it a good scrub every few weeks or at least once a month during boat season for best results.
You will also want to wipe down your dashboard and boat seating areas after every use. Consistent maintenance of vinyl is the best way to keep it lasting for years; use a marine-grade vinyl cleaner and attack stains as they arise.
To keep your boat looking its very best, use a boat cover when docked or moored. Then your boat will be perfect and ready to go when you are ready to use it.
Each of the above steps is so important when it comes to boat maintenance, and although it may sound like a lot when viewed all at once, completing the above tasks will make all the difference when you look back on the life of your boat. If you really love your boat and boating, you will pay close attention to boat maintenance and, in the end, you will be glad that you did. Have fun out on the water in your well-maintained boat!
If you are looking for some helpful, high-quality products that will help you to maintain your boat, check out our online store. We have something for every person and every boat, and you'll be excited to see our results.