Approximately 88.5 million Americans participate in recreational boating. Boat care will ensure your boat is water-worthy for years to come and will prevent you from having to pay for expensive repairs that could have been prevented.
Here are the top ways you can maintain your boat:
Regularly Wash Your Boat
Do you know what one of the easiest ways to keep your boat in tip-top shape is? Rinse your boat with fresh water whenever it has been in salt water.
When you remove the salt residue, you prevent it from corroding fasteners, metal, and hardware. Not to mention, if left in place, salt water can even wear away at your gel coat. Use a long, soft-bristle brush and boat wash to make sure you’re getting rid of all of the salt.
Change The Oil
Stern drive boats, inboards, and outboards all need to regularly have their oil changed. This should be done at least once a year, and you can either do it yourself or take it to a dealer.
It’s a relatively easy job to do yourself, you’ll simply need an oil extractor pump, rags, and an oil wrench. Make sure you’re replacing the oil with marine grade oil. Car oil won’t do the job since boat engines work harder than cars.
Check The Engine
Before you use your boat, you should always check the engine. Carefully look over the hoses and bilge for any leaks. Make sure you have enough fuel and check the fuel level before you leave. Don’t forget to also check the water coolant level.
This can also be a good time to double check your wiring and ensure everything looks good.
Check The Propeller
Stern drive boats and outboards will need to have their propellers checked before launch. You should regularly remove the propeller and check that you don’t have any fishing line or anything else wrapped around the shaft. This can cause case leaks, so it’s a good idea to have your dealer check it over if you notice that it has become entwined.
When you remove the propeller, inspect it for dents, nicks, or any other damage. Missing paint is fine, but you’ll need to get it repaired if you see signs of impact.
Even small dents can cause your boat to burn more fuel and lose performance. Damaged propellers can also vibrate, which causes added damage to seals and bearings.
Before you replace the propeller, cover the shaft with waterproof grease which will prevent it from corroding.
Maintain Your Batteries
Even in the offseason, you should regularly maintain your boat’s batteries. Remove them, clean them, charge them, lubricate the bolts and metal terminals, and store them somewhere dry and safe.
After you’ve cleaned your boat, be sure to dry it thoroughly to remove any extra moisture. You can also wash it with a mild mold solution which will prevent mold spores from growing. White vinegar is mild enough to use throughout your boat and will get the job done.
Need More Boat Care Tips?
The above boat care checklist will help keep your boat in the best possible shape throughout the year so you can enjoy it for many more fishing seasons.
Orange County Dockside Service is based in Newport Beach, CA and serves the Orange and Los Angeles Counties from Dana Point to Marina Del Rey. We specialize in mechanical repair, topside maintenance, fiberglass repair and restoration, bottom cleaning and antifouling, electronics installations, rigging, and much more.