Boats are fun but those who don’t take excellent care of their vessels will find out the hard way that boat ownership can also be stressful. The best way to avoid the stress of an unnecessary breakdown is to develop a preventative maintenance plan and follow it conscientiously. Read on to find out about the basics of boat maintenance to get started.
Always Buy Quality Products
Whether they’re buying boat washes or sealants, boat owners need to find a reliable marine maintenance parts supply store. Boat owners should use only specialty products designed for marine applications to clean and maintain boats. While it’s true that boats are like automobiles in some ways, that they’re used only on the water means that boat owners need to be constantly aware of potential water damage. Only use waterproof or water-resistant parts and products.
Check the Engine Before Every Outing
It’s never a good idea to head out on the water without checking the engine first. Check the fuel, water coolant, and oil levels in the reservoirs, check the bilge and hoses for leaks, and never head out for a day on the water without plenty of fuel. It’s also a good idea to check the engine’s wiring and to monitor both oil pressure and voltmeters while out on the water. New boat owners should create a checklist so they don’t miss any of these key points.
Manage Fuel Carefully
Managing fuel isn’t just a matter of making sure there’s enough in the tank to get out to a favored fishing spot and back. Boaters need to keep their tanks as full as possible to prevent moisture damage and may need to use fuel additives, depending on what type of fuel they use and how often they take their boats out. Boat owners should always use a protective fuel stabilizer during the off-season if they don’t want to drain their fuel tanks.
Watch for Corrosion
Any metal part can corrode if boat owners aren’t careful about preventative maintenance. Keep metal components dry or use a water-repellant paint or sealant. Even if all the boat’s metal parts have been coated, boat owners should still check frequently for signs of rust, especially if they’re taking their vessels out on the ocean. Saltwater can speed up corrosion.
Protect Against Mold
Remove excess moisture from the boat’s deck and interior after every outing or storm and wash the boat down periodically using a specialized mold solution. This will put a stop to any mold growth before it is able to really take hold. Boat owners can either buy specialty products for marine applications or they can use a combination of white vinegar and water to kill mold without damaging their coatings.
The Bottom Line
Maintaining a boat takes some work, but it’s worth the time, effort, and money. Not only will proper maintenance ensure that the boat remains in good working order, preventing potentially disastrous mid-ocean breakdowns, but it will also keep the vessel looking clean and beautiful. Those who are new to boat ownership may want to leave specialized tasks like engine repair and oil changes to mechanics, but the rest of their maintenance they should be able to perform themselves.