Like cars, boats also require regular maintenance to operate smoothly and safely. With the proper care and upkeeping, your vessel will last for a long time, and long enough to make countless memories.
Basic boat maintenance isn’t just doing a visual inspection now and then. You must follow a routine maintenance schedule and maintain your boat after every trip. Thankfully, many boat upkeeping tasks can be done without a mechanic, unless it’s a major repair, which should be left to the professionals.
Here, we’ll be covering the basic boat maintenance tips. You’ll be learning how to do boat maintenance and tips on how to clean your boat.
Boat maintenance is basically just keeping your boat well cleaned and lubricated. You don’t want to take your boat out for a spin without the right fluid levels. Your boat’s exterior is also susceptible to debris and weather damage.
To keep your boat in great shape, here are the tips for boat maintenance.
1. Clean the boat’s exterior
Keeping the exterior of your vessel clean is important for numerous reasons except for just displaying its glamor. First and foremost, doing routine cleaning of your boat’s exterior prevents the invasion of other species. It’s also to for the protection of our waterways.
Second, cleaning your boat keeps the finish intact, which in turn protects its structure. Salt from the sea will start to erode over a while and cause scratches and abrasions that are expensive to remove.
Ultimately, a clean boat has a better performance. Having a dirty hull can raise fuel costs by up to 30%.
If possible, endeavor to clean your vessel on land so as not to pollute the water. If unavoidable, deter from using toxic substances and use safe products instead. No matter the location, you will have to rinse your boat with fresh, clean water to get rid of the salt.
2. Store your boat properly
It’s essential to properly store your boat to protect it from weather damage, particularly during the winter season. You need to keep rain, snow, and ice away from your boat while allowing airflow so there will be no build-up of mildew. If you’re not using your boat, it’s important to prepare it for inactivity so it will properly function when you use it again.
3. Prioritize maintenance of your boat engine
Maintaining your boat’s motor doesn’t require a mechanic. You can keep the engine running and preserve your boat’s value for a long time by taking proper preventive measures. Do check, first, on your manufacturer’s recommendations before performing engine maintenance on your boat.
SALTWATER BOAT MAINTENANCE
It’s vital to do a maintenance routine every time you take your boat to sea as salt speeds up corrosion. You have to complete these two critical tasks after exposing your boat to saltwater: 1. Clean your boat. 2. Flush the engine. Try to execute these as early as possible or within 24 hours after exposure to saltwater.
BOAT MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
Here is a checklist of the basic boat maintenance to narrow things down much further. Cross out the items on this checklist as often as you can.
❏ Oil and filter
❏ Other fluid levels
❏ Bilge pump
BOAT MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE
It’s good to have a maintenance schedule to make sure you’re taking proper care of your boat all-year-round. When you stick to it, you’re less likely to forget crucial tasks.
1. Every time you take your boat for a ride
Be sure to accomplish the following tasks whenever you’re about to use your boat:
❏ Wash the deck and hull
❏ Inspect the oil and, if needed, refill it
❏ Inspect the boat’s propeller for any damage
❏ Inspect the hull for any damage and repair it if required
❏ Inspect steering movement
❏ Inspect the fire extinguishers
❏ Make sure the electric systems function properly
❏ Inspect the bilge pump
❏ Inspect the battery for a correct charge
2. Every 20 hours
After using your boat for 20 hours, do the following tasks:
❏ Clean and cover the interior
❏ Use a decarbonizer to treat the fuel
❏ Inspect the engine for correct RPM
❏ Inspect the lower unit of your boat for water and top off oil if needed
3. Every 50 hours
After 50 hours of using your boat, add these maintenance tasks to your list:
❏ Wax the hull and deck
❏ Inspect fuel lines for degradation
❏ Clean the bilge pump
❏ Inspect the fluid level of the steering system and search for leaks
4. Every 100 hours
Every 100 hours of boating, ensure that you complete the following:
❏ Lubricate grease points
❏ Repair the paint
❏ Inspect the tilt fluid and power trim and top off tilt fluid when needed
❏ Inspect the engine mounts
❏ Change fuel and oil filters
❏ Fix all loose bolts and fasteners within access
❏ Inspect the rub rail for any damage
❏ Change the water pump impeller
❏ Inspect stern eyes and bow for safe mounting
❏ Have your boat inspected by a professional mechanic