Boat Maintenance Tips

Regularly maintaining your boat will extend its life and keep you and your passengers safe and happy. As a precaution, the following steps should be taken to ensure that your boat is ready for use:

  1. Make sure you change the engine oil every season.
  2. Check the owner’s manual of your engine for the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding oil changes.
  3. Take preventative measures to prevent corrosion and oxidation before they become serious problems.
  4. Check all belts and hoses before every trip. Replace any that are torn or worn out. Every trip should be preceded by thoroughly inspecting fluid levels, oil levels, and battery conditions.
  5. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when servicing your transmission.
  6.  Never use automotive parts on your boat – always use marine parts approved by the manufacturer!
  7. Ensure your boat is stored in a dry, shaded area away from direct sunlight.
  8. Check any fittings that pass through your hull, such as engine-cooling intakes.
  9. It is possible for a leak or opening to sink your boat. Clean and wax your boat’s decks and hull. As a result, your boat will operate more efficiently and last for a more extended period.

Before taking the boat offshore, boaters should ensure that the engine is in good working order to reduce the likelihood of a breakdown or hazards on the water. The appliances and systems installed on board vessels should be designed to withstand marine conditions and be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Taking just a few minutes to examine the following will help boat operators avoid potential hazards:

Boater’s Pre-Departure ChecklistYesNo
Federal Equipment Requirements
Certificate of Number
State Numbering Display 
Certificate of Documentation
PDFs (Life jackets)
PDFs (Throwable Type IV Device)
Backfire Flame Control
Sound Producing Device
Proper Ventilation
Fire Extinguisher
Visual Distress Signals
Navigation Lights
Marine Sanitation Device
Navigation Rules
Oil Pollution Placard
Garbage Placard
Additional State Requirements



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