Keeping your boat well maintained is essential to extending the life of your boat and preventing the need for costly repairs. It also helps to ensure boating safety for all on board. Here are some tips for daily, weekly/monthly, and seasonal boat care.
- If you operate you boat in saltwater, give it a fresh water rinse at the end each day you are on the water. Use plenty of soap and water and rinse well. Removing corrosive salt water prolongs the life of your boat.
- It is a good suggestion to use a proactive anti-fouling paint to repeal barnacles from saltwater. If you don’t use such a paint then remove your boat from the water every few days to prevent build-up of algae and barnacles. Be sure to scrub the boat while it is still wet and before you put it back in the water.
- If you have batteries on board, place them on the charger as soon as you return. Check your battery connections and clean them if needed.
- Check your fuel tanks, fuel lines, and clamps for damage or corrosion and repair them if necessary. Make sure your oil levels are correct and your filters are clean.
- If your engine has a cooling system , make sure your fluid levels are correct and the cooling system is working properly.
Weekly and Monthly Maintenance
- Give your boat a good washing. If you don’t like to do this by hand, then remove all your fishing tackle, seat cushions, electronics and accessories and run your boat through a high-pressure car wash. Be sure you use a brush-less automatic car was or use one of the do-it-yourself washing bays.
- Check for any repairs while your cleaning your boat. Look for cracks, loose rivets and fittings, or other parts that need attention or replacement. Get these fixed immediately or schedule your boat for a visit to a qualified marina or boat repair shop.
- Make sure your bilge pump is operating properly and that your bilge is clean. Nothing worse than having your boat sink! Make sure you have enough battery power to operate your bilge pump for a prolonged period of time.
- Maintain your chrome, stainless steel, and aluminum fittings with special metal cleaners designed to remove corrosion from these types of metals. This is especially important if your boat is around salt water.
- Fiberglass boats should be polished at least once each year to preserve its value
- Check the wood on your boat each spring and fall for damage or rot. Pay close attention to corners and under decks where the wood might stay damp. Check the back of the boat (transom) and along the water line. It is a good idea to place your boat on blocks if you remove it from the water.
- Give your boat a good scrubbing each year while it is out of the water. Check with your marina for special soaps designed to clean without damaging the surface of you boat.
- If you have an aluminum boat you should check the rivets each year to make sure they are tight and not leaking. Check the boat while it is in the water and mark each rivet that is leaking with a permanent marker or chalk and repair when out of the water.
- Electrical systems should be checked each year for corrosion or damage. Electrical components need to be kept dry, so protecting them with a water-repellent or non-conductive grease or corrosion inhibitor with help prevent breakdowns from ruining your day on the water.
- Invest in a good boat cover if you have to store your boat outside for any period of time. It will keep out leaves, water, and animal and bird droppings from sensitive areas of your boat.
- Check your local boating regulations each year to keep aware of any changes in the rules, boating terms and definitions.
Following these tips will keep you boat running and it great condition for many hours of fun on the water.