Owning a boat is an expensive endeavor. The popular 22-foot pontoon boat, for example, can already cost you $35,000 while bigger boats are priced at $50,000 or more. If you are considering buying one, it is a must that you know about proper boat maintenance.
Aside from the fact that boats are expensive, every owner should practice proper boat care because it is the only way to ensure their safety in the sea. Machinery failure, which can include breakdowns and battery problems, is among the top causes of boat accidents. While the need for repairs is inevitable especially for older boats, maintenance work like boat detailing, change oil, and filter check can not only save you thousands of dollars on boat repairs and most of all – keep you, and your family or friends safe as you navigate seas, lakes, or rivers this summer season.
On this guide, you will learn how to maintain a boat, some important sailboat maintenance checklists, and helpful tips and tricks to make this task easy, from installing boat covers to using boat cleaners, and so much more.
Why does your boat need protection?
Having a planned maintenance system is the best way to protect your boat. Boating is a recreational hobby that is enjoyed by millions of people around the world. But without a boat safety checklist, it can be a dangerous adventure too.
An essential part of boat ownership involves boat repair and maintenance. These are necessary to prevent damage and keep your vessel in its optimal condition, which will ensure a safe and fun ride. Your boat maintenance schedule which can be done monthly, semi-monthly, annual, or seasonal should include cleaning, boat safety equipment checks, and engine care.
Boats are expensive investments. In most cases, getting boat insurance could save you thousands on repair costs. When calculating the average cost of boat insurance, you will generally pay 1.5% of the value of your boat.
5 Tips for Your Boat Maintenance
Learning how to maintain a boat is easy with a little knowledge and practice. Here are some very important tips for your boat maintenance:
Wash your boat regularly with clean water
Boats are in the water all the time. Does it still make sense to wash them with water? Well, the answer is yes. Saltwater can cause corrosion on your boat and equipment. Moreover, saltwater and even freshwater (lakes and rivers) have organisms such as algae living in them that can attach to your boat hull and work their way into your vessel’s coating. Regular washing with clean, fresh water should keep corrosion and algae damage at bay. There are boat cleaning products available in the market for easy and more effective boat cleaning. Follow these steps to wash your boat properly:
- Spray down the entire boat with water. Avoid using a high-pressure nozzle that could get water into tight or sealed spaces.
- Wipe down windows. This is to avoid permanent spotting.
- Using a boat brush, apply a non-abrasive cleaner on the rinsed areas.
- Scrub non-skid surfaces with soft bristles to remove dirt and debris.
- For surfaces made from fiberglass or covered with gel coat, use microfiber towels or wash mitts.
Have your engine checked regularly or at least once a year
It’s tempting to assume that your boat will run smoothly each time you take it into the water. But once you’re in the water and you figured out something is wrong; you are faced with such a huge problem. An important part of your boat maintenance checklist is the routine inspection of your boat engine. Check if the oil needs to be changed. How often should you change the oil in your boat’s engine? Most engine manufacturers recommend every 50-100 hours.
Check your battery each season
Keep your boat battery charger close by and make sure that it is fully charged. If you live in an area where it’s always cold, the more you want to pay attention to your battery. Take note that most marine batteries are designed to be discharged at 20%. Beyond that point, your battery will no longer be rechargeable which means you shouldn’t allow it to reach the threshold.
Cover your boat to keep it from damage
Covering your boat especially during winter is important to protect it from ice, water, and snow while not encouraging condensation which could result in mildew or mold build-up. You can find boat covers for sale online or even in your dealer shop but a thick canvass or tarps can definitely do the job. The best boat covers should fit tightly and not flap in the wind so you can use heavy duty tarps to cover your boat.
Check the oil
Just like cars, boats need to have their oil changed as well. Luckily, a boat oil change is something you can easily do in your end with the right tools. If you are unfamiliar with the process, you can always take your boat engine to your local dealer.
Good Boat Maintenance Advantages
While it could mean extra work, proper boat maintenance can have a lot of benefits for your vessel.
Keep it secure
Boat detailing is highly essential to ensure that you get to use your boat for a long time without any hassle or problem. Just like any other type of vehicle, boats have engines and parts that are susceptible to damage. Frequent use, storage, exposure to organisms like mold, rust build-up, and many other things can greatly affect the performance of your boat and compromise your safety in the water.
Keep your boat happy and healthy
Your boat needs some TLC too. In addition to the maintenance work mentioned above, want to do some regular boat polishing. Learn how to clean boat seats, as well as furniture and accessories. Your boat is one of your most valued assets. It’s just right that you keep it well-functioning and beautiful all throughout the season.
Boost its performance and prolong its life
As much as possible, you don’t want to reach the point when you will need to do a full boat restoration. Proper boat maintenance should maintain the condition of the boat, which is directly related to safe boating. It is recommended that you inspect your boat regularly. Know your boat and learn about the signs of problems.
While it’s possible to hire a service to take care of maintaining your boat, it is something you can do by yourself. It’s fun and definitely way cheaper!
When your boat is on its top condition, you will definitely have a great time engaging in some summer water activities, such as freshwater fishing. This activity can get pretty hardcore. If you’re not that savvy in fishing or would like to try some other water activities with your boat, consider lake touring, sailing, paddle sports, water skiing, and so much more. If you’re into a heart-pumping experience, boat racing is definitely something to try. These boat activities are sure to make your summer so much fun and memorable. Choose a summer water activity that fits your lifestyle and always prioritize your safety all throughout.
Hope this boat maintenance guide has given you great tips and advice in giving your boat the TLC it deserves.