Big or small, there are a few tips and tricks to improve the lifespan of your boat. Like any other machine, there are regular maintenance requirements that help improve the overall function of the vessel providing you and your family years of fun in the sun. But keeping it maintained during operation is only the beginning. How you store your boat during the off-season plays a critical role in the equation. Improve your boat’s longevity with these boating maintenance tips.
Regular Boating Maintenance
Change the Oil
Having a boat is very similar to owning a car. To maximize the lifespan, you’ll need to ensure regular oil changes. Four-stroke, outboards, inboards, and stern drive boats vary depending on their model, but the best rule of thumb is getting it changed about every 100 hours of operation. However, unlike cars, there aren’t drive-throughs to have this type of service completed which means you’ll have to finish this yourself or take it to a local dealer. If you want to change the boat oil yourself, you’ll need;
- Oil extractor pump
- Oil wrench
- Oil absorbing pad
Step 1: If your boat is on the trailer, supply cooling water to the water intake at the gearcase. If your boat is in the water, start the engine to warm it up.
Step 2: Let run for 5 minutes, turn off the engine, and remove the dipstick.
Step 3: Insert the oil extract into the dipstick tube and slide it down till it stops. Pump out the oil.
Step 4: Use a rag and remove the oil filter with your wrench. Rub oil on the sealing gasket and then screw in the new filter.
Step 5: Replace dipstick and fill with new oil in fill port.
Keep an Eye on the Propeller
For anyone who has an outboard or sterndrive boat, it’s critical to check the propeller before every voyage. You’ll want to check for any discarded fishing line that might get wrapped around the shaft. While you are inspecting the propeller, look for any other signs of damage like nicks or dents that might be indicative of potential problems. While they may seem trivial, the slightest indentation could result in your boat not performing well. If there is an instance where there is fishing line caught in the propeller take it to your dealer to ensure damage hasn’t been done to the gear case. Before you complete your inspection, put a liberal amount of waterproof grease on the propeller shaft to prevent corrosion.
Give Your Boat Regular Washes
Regularly washing your boat isn’t just for aesthetics, it helps to keep it free from residue that might build up and affect its performance. Some boaters transition from fresh to salt water. If this is the case, you will always want to wash to remove salt or another buildup. Salt has corrosive properties, and without regular washes, hardware and gears can deteriorate quickly. Purchase quality soap such as marine or car wash soap and a soft-bristled brush.
How and Where to Store Your Boat
Marinas are an all-inclusive storage option and are perfect for anyone who owns a larger boat. Pricing varies based on location but is usually based on the length of your boat or the length of the slip. Not all marinas offer winter storage so you might have to shop around. The benefits of using a marina are the access to wash down water, electricity, internet, and TV. Some areas also come with activities and restaurants. It provides a communal spirit and a great way to meet other families.
Rack storage is a solution for someone who owns a smaller boat. Provided by a third party facility, the unit is usually set up like a shed and filled with cradles to store your boat. A forklift is used to stack them on top of each other to maximize space. If you plan on taking advantage of this storage option, you will call the facility in advance to let them know when you will pick up and drop off your boat.
The most economical option is trailering. Trailering is simply a trailer that you keep your boat on and store in your driveway or backyard. It’s a one-off fee and affords you a lot more flexibility by letting you take advantage of a nice day without the need to schedule to pick-up or drop-off. Evey boat model is different and comes with individual instructions on how to best harness and maintain your boat if you plan on using a trailer.
If you are serious about boat maintenance and protecting it from damage, invest in a comprehensive boat insurance policy. Contact Royce Williams Insurance today to learn more.