Boat ownership is a fun, exciting opportunity, but it comes with a variety of responsibilities and demands. Here are three tips to help you anticipate maintenance needs and take excellent care of your boat.
Regular Part Replacement
To keep your boat and its engine in good shape, be sure to keep a regular maintenance calendar and actively anticipate when services will need to be performed on the boat. Bear in mind that some services may need to be scheduled based on the amount of time elapsed since the prior service, rather than the total number of hours the engine has been run. Be sure to purchase certain appropriate replacement parts for boats (such as oil filters, valve or air filters) in advance, so they are available right when the corresponding services need to be performed.
Routine Cleaning and Waxing
Whether your boat is used daily or only occasionally, you should prioritize regular cleaning of all boat surfaces on a regular basis. Fiberglass parts will need cleaning plus a gel coat or waxing to protect the surface from the elements, woodwork will need cleaning and potentially varnish or sealant, marine canvas will need regular cleaning and protectants and upholstery will need several cleanings throughout the season (using only appropriate cleaners). This all might sound like a lot of work, but it will be far less expensive than replacing the boat elements altogether. For best results, look for surface-specific cleaners and polishes that are formulated for precise care of the special surfaces found on boats.
Preventative care is one investment that goes a long way in extending the life of your boat. When your boat is not in use, store it out of direct sunlight if possible, to help avoid unnecessary wear and tear. During the winter season or other extended periods of non-use, consider cleaning storing canvas and vinyl panels indoors. Depending on your boat model and climate, further winterization may be necessary, in addition to regular maintenance. Finally, the winter season is a great time to do a once-over on your boat and prioritize any larger projects to ensure that the boat is ready for the next season.
Boat maintenance may be a costly investment, but as the saying goes, prevention is the best medicine. By thinking ahead and strategically planning for appropriate boat care, you can ensure that your vessel remains in good condition for many years to come.