Enjoying the freedom of being out on the water is what it's all about if you own a boat.
But running a boat can be costly, so it's important to to perform routine maintenance so you can avoid more expensive repairs that can happen if you let upkeep slide.
Here are four of the most important steps you need to take care of your craft.
1. Scrub up
Washing your boat is different from washing your car.
You need to wash your boat regularly to ensure it remains preserved and protected from potential corrosion due to the water.
This is even more important in saltwater where residue can quickly accumulate.
In fact, you should opt for a thorough freshwater rinsing of your boat each time you're out in the seawater.
This holds true for boat trailer maintenance as well, where the corrosion can cause rust and damage.
Use a boat brush with soft bristles and non-corrosive salts – marine boat soap is usually the best choice.
Use car soap if you don't have anything else available.
2. Oil change
Just like a car, regular oil changes are essential to the proper function of your boat’s engine.
In general, you should change the oil at least once a season.
If you frequently use your boat the general recommendation is to swap out old oil for every 100 hours of engine use.
One experienced sailer summed up the importance of this simple and easy task in one sentence: “Oil is cheap boats are not!”
3. Propeller care
This maintenance step only applies if you have an outboard motor.
Make a point to have a look at your propeller at least a few times a season.
You’ll want to check for these components:
- Whether or not the propeller nut is loose
- Whether you have any dents, warps, nicks or other damage
- Whether any fishing line has been wrapped around your propeller shaft
Tightening the propeller nut is a quick fix but you may need to head to your marine mechanic for a propeller repair or replacement for damage or fish line problems.
4. Get covered
Boat Insurance is another must-have aspect in the care of your boat.
While some homeowner's policies will have a provision for boats, that may not be enough for all the coverage you need.
Consult with your insurance broker to determine the best coverage options you'll need.
That way, you'll enjoy full protection, plus a boat in tip-top condition.