How frequently you perform boat maintenance depends on your specific boat and how it’s used. Just like automobiles, boats also require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly and safely. Maintaining proper boat care is essential to keep your vessel on the water for years to come as you create beautiful memories. As a boat owner, there are a few basics which require regular maintenance, which you can take care of.
The essentials of boat maintenance go beyond the visual inspection of your vessel whenever you head out. Instead, it’s important to follow a routine schedule for maintenance which includes taking care of your boat after each outing. Although most maintenance tasks do not require a mechanic, don’t hesitate to contact a professional if you encounter a problem that you can’t solve.
Important Boat Care Tips
The purpose of in-season maintenance is to make sure your boat isn’t only aesthetically pleasing, but also runs reliably and at peak performance. Performing proper boat maintenance extends the life of your boat along with the systems on which it runs, preventing expensive repairs as time goes on. Some tips on properly caring for your boat include:
1. Regularly Clean Your Boat
You must keep your boat clean for many reasons other than just the overall look of the watercraft. A clean boat also helps curb the spread of invasive species. As you make your way around the water, different animals or plants can attach themselves to your boat. You must clean your boat after each ride to protect it. Keeping your boat clean helps to maintain the structure of the boat by protecting its outer hull. As time goes on, various sediments will start to erode the finish which makes way for more permanent scratches and abrasions that could be expensive to fix.
After each use, you should wash your boat with clean, fresh water. Try to do this on land if possible, to prevent water pollution. If you must do it in the water, ensure that you use safe, environmentally friendly, non-toxic cleaning products that are made specifically for boats to protect the finish as well as the environment.
Additionally, the boat’s seats should be wiped down and cleaned with soapy water regularly to prevent damage caused by mold, mildew, dirt, and other sediment. Avoid pouring water directly in the seats when cleaning, and make sure you wipe off all soap residue to dry the seats completely.
2. Perform Engine Inspection
Engine maintenance is very crucial in ensuring that your boat continues to function in the best condition. However, you don’t have to be a professional to address the basics of your boat’s motor. There are preventive measures you can take to make sure it’s running for years to come which also preserves the value of your boat. Here are some items you can take care of to ensure your boat’s engine is in tip-top condition:
- Regularly check and clean the motor’s spark plugs and replace any faulty plugs
- Inspect the battery charge and terminals; if there is any buildup, clean, and grease them
- Go over the propeller and engine belts for any signs of excessive wear, replacing them if necessary
- Monitor the level of the engine oil, ensuring that it is adequate
- Change the engine oil after 100 hours and replace the oil filter once in three months
- Spray the electrical components of the engine with an all-purpose oil to prevent rust
- At the end of each trip, remove the motor from the water and flush it using freshwater
- Check the fuel hoses and replace them as needed
- Ensure that the vent of the tank is clear with no blockages
3. Store Your Boat Properly
Properly storing your boat is necessary for its protection against weather-related damage. The main goal of boat storage is to keep rain, snow, and other potentially damaging elements out of your boat while allowing proper airflow which prevents the buildup of mildew.
There are many options when it comes to storing your boat. The three main methods of boat storing are; outdoor, indoor, and on the water.
Outdoor Boat Storage: This method is the most popular and allows boat owners the freedom to store their sailboats with the masts up. When storing your boat outside, you have to make sure it’s properly covered in order to protect it from the elements. You can cover your boat yourself using a tarp or employ the services of a professional to shrink wrap your boat.
Indoor Boat Storage: A better option than storing your boat outside is the option of storing it in an indoor storage facility or garage. This option is great because it keeps your boat safe from the various weather you may experience during the cold winter. You can store the boat in your garage, but if you do not have enough space, you can rent storage space. There is also the option of dry rack storage where you keep your boat on a rack in a secure, covered building.
Boat Storage On Water: many harbors and marinas have provision for boat storage all year round. If you have a large vessel, storing your boat on water may be a practical option for you.
Once you figure out where to store your boat, these steps will help you prepare your boat for storage:
- Ensure that your boat is well cleaned
- Take out the battery and store in ventilated, cool dark places
- Inspect the boat for food or other items that can rot on the vessel
- If there is a refrigerator, clean it out properly and leave the doors open
- Inspect the propeller and the shaft for damages, clean the propeller if necessary
Once you’re done with your water activities for the day, one of the best and easiest ways to clean your boat is with the use of an on-shore boat ramp. Known for their simple setup and shore docking solutions, boat ramps offer a great solution to both getting your boat out of the water and setup for an easy boat cleaning process as you have access to the majority of the boat’s hull and interior.
For more information on how to purchase your very own on-shore boat ramp, check out Roll-N-Go’s selection of innovative boat ramps!