There’s no denying that owning a boat can be a source of pride, joy and inspiration. For most people, there is nothing more relaxing than spending a day out on the water in the company of the people they love.
However, owning a boat also comes with a lot of responsibilities. For starters, you need to keep your boat in tip top condition. Here are some boat maintenance tips that can help you ensure the safety of your passengers and extend the life of your precious watercraft.
Maintaining Your Boat: Top Tips for New Boat Owners
- Keep it clean. Your boat takes a lot of beating from the environment so you need to wash it regularly to prevent premature wear and tear. Boats used in saltwater need to be washed down with fresh water after every use to prevent corrosion and protect the gelcoat. For best results, use specially formulated cleaners and use wax and an anti-fouling paint to protect it from the elements.
- Inspect the propeller. For stern drive or outboard boats, don’t forget to check your propeller before launching your boat. Take off the propeller at least a few times during the season to check if the propeller nut is secure and to make sure that shaft is not wrapped in discarded fishing lines which may cause gear leaks. If it is, ask your dealer to inspect it. Send your propeller for repair if you see any evidence of damage since it can reduce your boat’s performance and fuel efficiency.
- Change your oil. While four-stroke outboards, inboards and stern drive boats have different requirements when it comes to oil changes, you may need to change your oil every 100 hours of operation or at least once a year.
- Make motor maintenance a priority. Consider flushing your engine after every outing, and check for any signs of rust, damage or corrosion. Also check your cooling system to make sure it is functioning properly.
- Give your battery some TLC. Keep your battery clean and dry, and make sure it is properly charged and has the correct fluid levels at all times.
- Watch out for warning signs. As a boat owner, you should be attuned to everything that concerns your vessel, and pay special attention to the smallest details. Keep in mind that most problems can be prevented by addressing it at the earliest possible stage. So, follow a regular preventative watercraft maintenance routine, and consider having a professional vessel inspection to make sure everything is in great working condition.
- Invest in a high quality semi-custom boat cover. Keep your boat looking as good as the day you first saw it by using a good quality boat cover, especially when not in use. By keeping it under wraps, you can protect it against the damaging effects of the sun, acid rain and other environmental pollutants, and keep critters and bird droppings out. It can also help you prevent casual theft, ensure a longer boat life and command a higher resale value.
With proper boat maintenance, you can keep your favorite watercraft in excellent condition for years to come and ensure the comfort and safety of everyone on board.