We want to be ready for summertime to go out and enjoy our boat, it doesn’t matter how big or small, your boat will need regular maintenance if you want to have it ready for sail and avoid bigger problems down the road. Just last year we completely neglected doing a regular inspection of our engine and wound up adding a Rochester marine carburetor to our Christmas shopping list. Let’s dig into some of the most basic boat maintenance tasks you can do mostly on your own.
Winter time is a good season to perform some repairs and tune-ups since you probably won’t be sailing a lot. Boat maintenance is not cheap, you may spend 10% of the purchase value of your boat just on maintenance every year however there are many things you can do on your own that are free or will cost you very little and will contribute to the overall ship condition.
- Wash the boat
Wash your boat as often as possible, particularly if you boat in seawater. The residues of sea salt will corrode metals in the exterior and interiors and overtime deteriorate the paint coat.
You can use a water hose, car wash soap and a soft brush to remove all the salt residues and shine on every surface.
- Oil Change for your boat
Yes, it probably came to your mind as well, the same than cars it’s very important to do a regular oil change to your boat at least once every year or as many times as your manufacturer or manuals suggests it.
Good news is that just like cars, changing the oil is a fairly easy task to do that you can accomplish by yourself as long as you have the DIY spirit and maybe even watch 1 or 2 YouTube videos.
- Check the Propeller
Sometimes pieces of fishing line or other objects may get stuck on your propeller and you want to make sure you remove anything in there when you are getting ready to set sale. Check the propeller also for any dents or bents, even a small damage can cause your boat to lose performance and the stress from a propeller not working correctly can cause other damage to the bearings and seals.
- Check the carburetor
When the marine carburetors are dirty the dirt prohibits the flow of fuel into your boat’s engine. Dirt and grime in a carburetor will affect the combustion process making the engine to lack the necessary fuel and will result in a much lower efficiency. You may want to have a professional inspect the engine and carburetor to see if they need cleaning.
- Check for non–mechanic parts
Let’s do a walk around the ship and inspect the port lights, anchor, candlesticks, flares, life raft. We can make a note to replace anything that’s damage or in poor condition.
- Check for any regular maintenance recommended by the manufacturers
In other words, just the oil change is not enough, we have to check for all the recommended changes and maintenance that the manufacturers suggest for our boat: check the engine, oil change, and any other basic elements cooling pump, alternator belt or filters.
- Safety elements and hygiene
Last but not least important, review all safety and hygiene elements like tools, vests, radios and perform the necessary sanitation tasks to avoid bad odors and get rid of old food or drinks aboard, particularly if we are going to have the boat stopped for several months and we don’t need to leave this stuff in here.
Can you think of some more tips to finish preparing a boat for the high season? If you follow these tips and do regular tune ups and maintenance you will be sure to avoid unexpected problems and enjoy a smooth sailing the next time around.