Maintaining your boat is crucial to keeping your investment in tip top shape. There are things that need to be done more often than others to maintain your boat properly and keep it running normal, and things that only need to be done once a year. Your boat maintenance schedule is dependent on how often you are out and about on your boat, if you are just cruising or using it for watersports, what kind of water you are using it in, and if it is stored in the water or out. This blog will serve as an annual maintenance guide to help you keep your boat in pristine condition.
Preparing to Maintain Your Boat
One of the most important things when creating your annual maintenance schedule is preparing for what your boat needs to have done to continue to run properly. Much like you do with your vehicle, you will need to inspect the exterior and interior and make note of anything that needs to be fixed or looked at.
While inspecting your boat, it is important to also make sure that all the proper safety items are included and functioning correctly. You will want to check that all of the life jackets stored on the boat are in good condition. Also check that you have a non-expired fire extinguisher and proper items to send distress signals if something happens and you need help. Finally, you will need to check that all electronics are working properly so that you can safely use your boat. This includes, but is not limited to all of the gauges, communications, and navigation.
Cleaning and Caring for Your Boat
Keeping your boat clean both on the exterior and interior is a crucial part of keeping your boat in excellent condition. While it is aesthetically pleasing to have a clean boat, it also helps it run better. For example, keeping the exterior such as your underbody and hull clean from water critters and plant life helps it glide across the water better and create less drag.
You can either wash and detail your boat yourself or take it somewhere to have it done. Cleaning is both after every use and annually – depending on how often you are on it. Every use is just basic light cleaning – for example, keeping trash picked up and removing any extra water from the boat to prevent mold and mildew. A more intense deep clean of your boat includes washing and waxing the exterior, polishing the chrome, and deep cleaning the hull and interior. You will also want to clean the carpet and use a protectant on your upholstery so that it lasts for years to come.
Maintaining Your Boat's Engine Room
Much like your automobile, regular engine maintenance is a must. This includes oil changes, filter replacements, checking fluid levels, and belt inspections. Important fluids such as coolant, fuel, and hydraulic fluid are crucial to keeping the boat running properly and safely, so it is necessary to make sure they are at the proper levels with no leaks. Engine maintenance needs to be done on the proper schedule based on how often you use your boat and other factors. Most, if not all maintenance can be done by yourself; however, sometimes an expert is needed.
Maintaining Your Boat's Electrical and Plumbing Systems
Similar to keeping your engine in prime condition, the electrical and plumbing systems on your boat are important too. You will want to inspect all of the connections, batteries, and wiring throughout the boat. After all, water and electricity do not mix.
The plumbing on a boat is different from regular plumbing. You will need to learn marine plumbing or get help from a professional to properly keep it from leaking or breaking. Some boats have bathrooms on them, and it is important that we do not put waste into our waterways. You also do not want to cause clogs within your boat's system because of improper maintenance.
Boat maintenance may seem like a lot of work, but in order to keep your investment in pristine condition, it needs to be done. You are able and welcome to do all of it yourself, or you can always take it to a professional for peace of mind and to save yourself time. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you keep up with your maintenance schedule so that your boat can continue to run well and look like it just came off the showroom floor.