Easy Boat Maintenance Tips
Easy Boat Maintenance Tips
June 5, 2020
Boating season is here! Before you hit the water, it’s important to make sure your boat is in tip-top shape for a smooth season. Here are some easy, but necessary maintenance tips that will ensure your time on the water is fun and safe.
Wash After Every Use
After every trip on the water, give your boat a freshwater wash down including the outboard motor (if it has one). If boating in the ocean, make sure to completely remove salt residue, as it can eat away at the boat’s finish, according to Dockside Reports.
With a soft sponge and marine soap (available at West Marine), wash – and rinse – the deck and the exterior part of the boat above the deck (superstructure) including the vinyl seats, deck boxes and windshield. After these parts are completely dry, clean the windows by spraying vinegar and water on the glass to get them streak free.
Wax On, Wax Off
Waxing your boat is a crucial step in keeping your boat well maintained. It will restore your boat’s luster and shine, make future cleanups easier, and protect your boat from harmful UV rays. According to wikiHow, if you don’t wax your boat on a regular basis, you will need to use a restorer wax (available at Walmart). Apply the wax using a sponge applicator and apply in a circular motion. The wax will usually dry out over a 10 – 30 minute period. Do not not wipe it off until it has dried. You should, however, remove the wax right after it’s dried or it will be more difficult to remove.
Change the Oil
The most important boat maintenance tip is to consistently check and change your oil and filter. Just like cars, boats need to have their oil changed. The amount of times you will need an oil change depends on the type of boat you have, but according to Discover Boating a good rule of thumb is to change the oil every 100 hours of operation, or once a year.
Changing the oil in your boat can either be done at a local dealer or you can change it yourself in five easy steps:
- Start the engine to warm it up
- Turn it off and remove the drain plug
- Drain the old oil
- Change the filter
- Replace the drain plug and fill the engine with new oil
Use marine grade oil in your boat engine and not automotive oil, as automotive oil is not made to protect marine engines.
Check the Propeller
If you have an outboard or stern drive boat, you should check the propeller as part of your pre-launch routine. To do this, Discover Boating suggests you use a deep well socket (available at The Home Depot) to make sure the propeller nut is secure.
Remove the propeller several times during the season to ensure discarded fishing line or any other items haven’t gotten caught on the propeller shaft. If there’s anything wrapped around the shaft, have your dealer inspect the gear case as fishing line can cause gear case leaks, which will need to be repaired by a professional.
While you have the propeller off, inspect it for nicks, dents and other signs of damage as the smallest dent in a propeller can decrease boat performance and and will burn more fuel than normal.
Tip: Use WD-40® Multi-Use Product to penetrate and loosen lug nuts on boat trailers.