If you love to travel, you may be the type of person who also enjoys the idea of owning your own boat. If you don’t already have a boat, you might consider purchasing one in the near future. Your own boat offers a convenient means of enjoying some of the most pleasant aspects of travel without having to actually go very far.
However, a boat is a major investment. You need to prioritize maintenance to optimize its lifespan.
The following tips will help. While it’s also important to check the manufacturer recommendations, as the specific tasks involved in proper boat upkeep can vary somewhat on a case-by-case basis, these general tips apply to virtually all boat owners.
(Tip: Local government agencies might also have certain boat maintenance recommendations and guidelines. Be sure to check those as well.)
Invest in a Quality Boat Cover
It’s a simple tip, but an important one. Even if you keep your boat docked in an enclosed or semi-enclosed shelter when you’re not using it, you should always keep it covered unless you’re out on the water.
Just make sure you purchase a quality cover that will offer sufficient protection and stay in good condition for a long time. You’re wasting your money if you opt for a cheaper cover that doesn’t actually serve its intended purpose very well.
Follow a Checklist
Guarding against damage and depreciation is much easier when you spot minor problems early before they develop into more significant issues. Thus, periodically throughout the year, you should inspect your boat’s various features and systems to ensure they’re undamaged and still in good working order.
This is easier if you have a basic boat maintenance checklist. This should remind you to check the:
- Hull and topsides
- All safety equipment and features
- Electrical systems
- Fuel system
- Any features that may be unique to larger boats, such as HVAC systems
Keep in mind that if you do notice signs of a problem, you may not be qualified to address the issue yourself. Enlist the help of a professional when this is the case.
Flush Your Engine
Every time you’ve finished a boat outing, flush your engine with fresh water.
If you boat in salt water, salt crystals can (and likely will) separate from the water. If they’re allowed to accumulate, they can damage internal components. Flushing your engine will help prevent this.
Flushing your engine after every outing is necessary even if you boat in freshwater. Grime and mud can also build up in an engine and other internal systems. Make sure it doesn’t cause any damage by flushing your engine every single time you wrap up a trip out on your boat.
Establish a Dry Storage Area
When you’re out on a boat, it’s natural for items such as toys, lifejackets, and others to get wet. However, if you store these items while they’re still wet, you could cause damage to your boat over time. For instance, certain environments on your boat may become moist enough for mold to start developing.
This doesn’t need to happen. Take the time to find a place on your boat where you can easily store all items that may get wet during an outing. When you’re done using them, dry them before storing them again.
Just keep in mind that this is also a very general overview. Boat maintenance can involve a range of steps. Coordinate with experts to learn more about how to keep your boat in the best shape possible for as long as possible.