To make your sailing experience safe, smooth and enjoyable; boats need as much maintenance as any other vehicle including your cars. With proper care and up-keeping, your vessel can last you a longer time. So, you can create countless memories on the rivers, lakes and sea!
Boat service and care require more than regular visual inspections. For that, you would require following a proper maintenance schedule, or you might need a professional for a thorough check. Fortunately, a lot of up-keeping tasks can be easily managed by boat owner. However, for major repairs or technical issues, it is suggested to consult a mechanic to ensure your safety because you would never want to suffer boat issues in the middle of the sea amidst water without any help. Would you?
Fret not! This boat maintenance guide will help you with some tricks and tips to avoid any inconvenience.
Boat Care Checklist
Have a look a boat care checklist first:
- Electrical systems
- The bottom of the boat and topsides
- Upholstery and canvass
- HVAC systems (in heavy duty boats)
- Moving parts (including tracks, hinges and zippers)
If you look at 10 years back from today, this checklist would have been quite lengthy. At those time, wooden boats were used that would require a lot of care and maintenance to keep it going. Gratefully, fiberglass and aluminum boats of this modern age are easy to handle and don’t need much care comparatively.
7 Basic and Quick Boat Maintenance Tasks
- Check out battery cables and batteries before using the boat for trips.
- Use a battery charger for an extended idol period.
- Change the batteries after four to five seasons or whenever required.
- Always utilize fuel that doesn’t contain ethanol.
- Get a marine specific stabilizer for fuel in order to avoid phase separation and oxidation.
- Don’t forget to check the oil of your engine.
- Remove the propeller and inspect the prop shaft every now and then, preferably monthly or weekly.
Some Basic Tips on Boat Maintenance
Boat maintenance is quite vast and covers a lot more than just regular checking before heading out in the sea. Take it as your automobile, there are some technical settings that need a professional mechanic, rest can be managed by the owners unless they want to leave it to some professional. Mentioned below are some tips that can definitely help you enjoy a beautiful boat ride safely and securely.
1. Keep your boat clean and well lubricated
A major part of maintaining a boat is to keep it clean. It doesn’t matter if you have a large or a small vessel; keeping the exterior and the interior clean is critical. For example, if there is any plant, insect or animal stuck on the surface; it can get rotten due to moisture and cause problems. The dirt and moisture can allow the mold to grow on canvass and upholstery. Even the salt from the sea will start to erode after a while and cause scratches on the surface of your craft. To avoid all the mess, make sure to clean thoroughly from time to time. The experts recommend using fresh water to clean your ship after every ride as it flush away all the salt and debris.
Most fiberglass boats feature a glossy gel coat finish that protects the exterior from extreme weather conditions. If it gets chalky, then it is time to get the surface waxed. Try to use the special soap for cleaning as you wouldn’t want to use any toxic chemicals. To keep it intact, do wax your boat extensively twice before spring season, especially when you want to take it out for sailing and in winter when you would store your boat.
2. Give Importance to Engine Maintenance
Apart from the general cleaning you need to keep your engine clean and well lubricated too. Over time the engine lubricant can get dirty with carbon debris that can raise the fuel cost by 30%. It is wise to do an intensive inspection of the engine before the summer season. Always flush your engine with fresh water after every sailing trip to prevent salt residue.
Engine maintenance is mostly done by professionals. Therefore, if there is some repairing required; it should be done accurately by a professional and then it will be ready to go for sailing. However, the cost of engine maintenance is pretty high, but it depends on the size of your boat too. Therefore, mostly owners do the repairing job themselves to save the cost. However, that is not a smart idea. Money spent on hiring a professional is worth every penny as nothing should be more important than your safety.
3. Part’s Replacement
Owning a craft comes with some challenges as well. For instance, boat maintenance will sometimes require parts replacement. It doesn’t happen every year as ships tend to work fine in the first few years, but after that you might need some replacements to extend its life. These parts may include batteries, propellers, electric lines, and filters.
4. Find Proper Storage for Your Boat
Maintaining a boat also includes proper storage for your vessel when you are not using it. Usually, there are three ways of storing an idol craft:
- On the water: Mostly we see boats stored in the harbor. They remain in the water all season and only used when you want to take them out for sailing. These harbors have the license to keep the private boats there, such as Yas Marina, Dubai. Keeping the boat on the water is ideal for big boats that can’t be stored indoors.
- Outdoor storage: Some people opt for outdoor storage to store their boats. It involves covering up your boat with shrink wrap and keeping it under the sky. This allows the ship to be ventilated and covered at the same time.
- Indoor storage: Indoor storage is a safe option, considering weather conditions. In this option, your boat is taken out from the water and stored in a big garage where sunlight and weather conditions can’t affect it directly. Usually, the harbor features a garage to store sailing boats, but you can also rent a storage unit to keep it safe and sound.
5. Deck maintenance
Although deck maintenance doesn’t impact the function of your boat; however, it needs your attention too! You have to regularly look after the deck and foredeck area. All you require to do is, take some time out after boating, rinse the deck and foredeck area and wipe it after every use. For thorough cleaning, you can just scrub it in a while or once monthly during the sailing season for best results.
Consistent cleaning of the deck can increase its lifespan. You can use a vinyl cleaner to get rid of the stains that are rigid enough for the plain water. After cleaning, Just cover your boat, and it is ready to use for the next time.
All the above-mentioned steps are important for keeping your ship in a tip-top condition and for increasing its life. Although you may find these points lengthy and time seeking, but they are all worth your time and energy. In short, when you will maintain your boat well, as a result it will give you a vacation of a lifetime! You can enjoy your day in the water, under the sky whenever your mood strikes. Sounds fun. Happy sailing to you!