boat tied up on a dock

Staying Afloat: 6 Top Tips For Boat Maintenance

Did you realize the number of boats sold in the United States last year was at the highest level in 10 years? For most people, buying a boat is something they have dreamed of for a long time. Being able to navigate the waterways in your area on a pristine sea-faring vessel can be a lot of fun.

Once you have found and purchased a boat, your main goal should be keeping it in good shape. Failing to provide your boat with the care it needs can lead to lots of repair issues developing. Learning helpful tips for boat maintenance will help you keep your sea-faring vessel damage free.

The following are just some of the things you need to do to keep your boat in good working order.

1. Clean and Check Your Batteries

Cranking up your boat and hitting the water is probably something you do without much thought. The only way for the engine in your boat to start is with the help of your batteries. Most boats have multiple batteries that generate the spark needed for ignition.

Checking and cleaning these batteries and the connections they have is vital. Over time, corrosion will start to build up around the terminals on these batteries. Allowing this corrosion to remain in place can reduce the cold cranking power the batteries have.

Instead of dealing with the problems this can cause, you need to get a wire brush and a can of battery terminal cleaner. With a bit of elbow grease, you can remove the corrosion in no time. You will also need to get a boat mechanic to load test your batteries prior to taking it out on the water to ensure they are holding a charge.

2. Washing Your Boat Is Important

Most people pay a lot of money for a new boat. Instead of letting this investment wither away due to a lack of maintenance, you need to work on cleaning it on a regular basis.

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Letting things like dirt and grime take up residence on your boat, you need to clean these substances off. The longer you allow a boat to stay dirty, the higher the risk becomes of damage occurring. This is especially true if you are taking your boat into saltwater on a regular basis.

When choosing cleaning products, you need to make sure they are specifically designed for marine crafts. Some freshwater and cleaning soap can go a long way when trying to restore the like-new shine to your boat.

3. Stick to an Oil Checking and Changing Schedule

The oil in your boat’s engine helps to lubricate a variety of internal parts. If you fail to check or change this oil, it is only a matter of time before disaster strikes. Most boat manufacturers have very specific standards when it comes to when and how to change the oil in their engines.

Over time, the engine in your boat will begin to wear out. When the time comes to replace the engine, you need to find a used engine with low hours on it. You can view more about marine engines and how to choose the right one with a bit of online research.

Skimping on the care you provide your boat motor will come back to haunt you. If a marine engine is not properly maintained, it will be very unreliable. This means you may find yourself stuck out at sea if your motor breaks down unexpectedly.

4. Use Fuel Stabilizers When Necessary

Before heading out on a boat outing, be sure to check your fuel level. The best way to prevent moisture from building up in your boat’s fuel tank is by keeping it full.

Having too much moisture in the fuel tank can lead to issues with skipping and power surges. During the off-season, it is best to drain all of the fuel out of the boat’s tank. Not only will this prevent moisture issues, but it can also help you avoid problems caused by bad gas.

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Using a fuel stabilizer during the off-season is also a good idea. These stabilizers can help you keep your fuel system running like a well-oiled machine.

5. Protect Your Boat From Mold

Keeping a boat looking and running great can be challenging. Inspecting your vessel on a regular basis can help you find issues before they cause too much damage. During these inspections, be sure to keep an eye out for the development of mold.

The best way to avoid mold problems is by drying off the boat to remove any excess moisture. You can also use a mixture of white vinegar and warm water to remove any mold spores that may be present.

Washing your boat down with this mixture once every month or so can help you keep mold at bay. Waiting to address mold issues can lead to big headaches in the future.

6. Inspecting the Boat’s Propeller

Having a pre-trip inspection list can help you avoid breakdowns during your boat outings. When developing this list, be sure to put propeller inspection at the top of the list.

Over time, the propeller on your boat can get damaged due to continuous use. If you notice your propeller is bent, you need to seek out the help of a boat mechanic.

In some instances, a boat mechanic can bend the propeller back into position. However, if the propeller is too damaged, you have to invest in a new one.

Put These Tips for Boat Maintenance Into Action

Using these tips for boat maintenance is the key to keeping your vessel functional for years to come. Working with a boat mechanic can help you avoid common maintenance and repair mistakes.

Looking for more boat-related tips and advice? Check out our article on the best pontoon boat accessories on the market.