Boat Maintenance Tips

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Nothing will ruin a day on the water faster than when something goes wrong with your boat, especially when that thing is easily preventable. Whether you are new to boating or are an old salt with years of experience, routine maintenance can become easy to take for granted . . . until that bad day on the water. Here’s a list of boat maintenance you should be doing on a regular basis. Your boat will thank you for it.

Cleaning Your Boat

The simplest and one of the most important things you can do for your boat is to wash it after every use. This is especially important if you boat in saltwater, as salt will corrode metal, fasteners and other hardware, and can mar your gelcoat. Routine waxing and using anti-fouling paint will also help protect your boat.

Motor Care

Flush your engine after each outing, and be sure to check for rust, damage or corrosion on everything from fuel tanks to the clamps on your fuel line. Make sure your engine’s cooling system is working properly. Check your oil for appropriate levels, proper filtration and cleanliness. And while the frequency with which you need to change your oil depends on the model of engine you have, a good rule of thumb is every 100 hours of use or once a year.

Propeller Care

If you have an outboard or stern drive boat, be sure to inspect your propeller regularly. Remove the prop several times during the season to make sure fishing line hasn’t become wrapped around the propeller shaft. Look for nicks, dents and other signs of damage, as even a small dent can hurt your boat’s performance.

Check Your Battery

Make sure your battery is properly charged and has the correct fluid levels. Also, dirt and moisture can drain your battery, so be sure to keep it clean.

Proper Docking

Often it’s not when a boat is being used that it suffers scratches and damage, but while it’s docked. Be sure that your lines are securely fastened, neatly coiled and are in good condition.

General Inspection

To keep your boat running smoothly, be sure to check all aspects of your vessel. Inspect everything from loose fittings to fraying ropes. Often it’s these small things than can get overlooked and lead to big problems.

Check Your Electrical Systems

Corroded electrical systems are often to blame for problems on the water. Make sure to keep your electrical components dry. Electrical fittings can be protected with a water-repellant, nonconductive grease or corrosion inhibitor.

Check Your Bilge Pump

Of all the things you don’t want to have happen to your boat, having it sink is probably at the top of that list. So it’s important to make sure your bilge pump is working properly. If you need your bump, you will need to make sure your battery system contains enough juice to support running the pump for a long time.