The Complete Boat Maintenance Guide
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A few minutes of routine boat maintenance can save you from hours in repair costs. A few maintenance items require regular attention while others only need to be addressed every few months or even annually. Using a simple checklist for boat maintenance can help you stay on track.
The first and most basic maintenance task is cleaning. While cleaning might not sound like the most critical issue, any buildup can oxidize on your fiberglass coating, leaving your boat dull and chalky. Canvas and upholstery can develop mold and mildew. Each time you have been out on the water, you need to clean your boat and visually inspect all major systems to ensure everything is as it should be. Use fresh water to flush the engine to remove deposits that could damage internal components.
Check your oil levels and look for fuel or oil leaks after every excursion. Use an anti-corrosive to lubricate moving parts, and check your boat’s hoses and lines for signs of wear or damage. Check fuel lines and clamps for damage or corrosion.
Change the oil about every 50 to 100 running hours or at least annually.
Before you head out onto the water, check the security of the prop nut and cotter pin. Inspect the propeller blades for bends, dings, or other damage. Check the shaft for fishing line or other debris and grease it.
Periodically, remove your snap-in carpeting and shake it, vacuum the loose debris, pressure wash it, and hang it to dry. Scrub the boat deck to remove any buildup beneath the carpet.
5. Dry storage
Keeping one area on your boat reserved for items that need to be kept dry, such as life jackets and towels, should be a priority. By dedicating one part of your watercraft to dry storage, you can protect any equipment that might be prone to mildew, mold, or rot. Dry everything thoroughly each time before you stow anything in the dry storage.
Depending on the age and condition of your boat, you may have other items you should add to your maintenance checklist as well. For example:
- Check or replace running lights
- Check rails
- Evaluate fenders
- Examine lines for wear or damage
- Examine Bimini top or awning
- Lubricate fittings
- Paint the hull bottom
- Check the trailer