Boat Maintenance Tips

Regularly maintaining your boat will extend its life and keep you and your passengers safe and happy. Preventative maintenance is a must to ensure that your boat is ready and safe for use.

Any system that fails and causes a disruption of a boating voyage could not only reduce the enjoyment of the trip but could also place the vessel and people onboard in danger or cause serious injury. Examples include: failure of a through-hull fitting can cause swamping; disruption of the electrical system can cause loss of electronic navigation and mechanical propulsion or steering; fuel system leakage can result in a fire or explosion; an inoperable engine cut-off device may prevent the vessel from re-starting.

Preventative maintenance is vessel type-specific (i.e., hull integrity, engines, hoses, gauges, thru-hulls, lines, rigging, lighting, sound producing devices, other safety equipment, and gear), here are some some key items to inspect:

  1. Make sure you change the engine oil according the manufacturer’s instructions (especially time between changes).
  2. Take preventative measures to prevent corrosion and oxidation before they become serious problems.
  3. 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.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when servicing your transmission.
  5. Never use automotive parts on your boat – always use marine parts approved by the manufacturer!
  6. Ensure your boat is stored in a dry, shaded area away from direct sunlight.
  7. Check any fittings that pass through your hull, such as engine-cooling intakes.
  8. 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 longer.

Note: If using a trailer, check hitch connections, tires, wheel bearings/axles, lighting, etc.

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.



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