Big or small, every boat needs to be maintained. Routine maintenance and small repairs aren’t that tough and in the long run, a little elbow grease will definitely pay off.
Boat Maintenance Tips
Wash Your Boat
Wash your boat regularly. Rinsing your boat thoroughly with fresh water helps to remove salt residue. Salt corroded metal, fasteners and other hardware. Use a long-handle, soft-bristle boat brush and some quality soap. Marine boat wash is best.
Change Your Oil
Just like your car, your boat needs to have the oil changed. Four-stroke outboards, inboards and stern drive boats require regular oil changes. The frequency will vary by model but a good rule of thumb is to change the oil every 100 hours of operation or once a year.
Check the Propeller
If you have an outboard or stern drive boat you should check the propeller as part of your pre-launch routine. Use a deep well socket to remove the propeller several times during the season to make sure discarded fishing line hasn’t become wrapped around the propeller shaft.
While you have the propeller off, inspect it for nicks, dents and other signs of damage. Send it out for repairs if you find signs of impact. The smallest dent can cause your boat to lose performance and burn excessive fuel. A damaged prop also can vibrate, putting too much stress on bearings and seals causing additional damage.
Finally, put a liberal amount of waterproof grease on the propeller shaft to prevent corrosion from “freezing” it in place. Then re-install the propeller and hardware in the same order that you took them off.
It’s easy to keep your outboard in tip-top shape, even if you’re not a mechanic. Preventive boat motor maintenance facilitates safe boating and can keep your motor reliable for a long time.
After Every Trip simply flush out the engine. Start up the engine and let the water pump do the rest. While you’re flushing the motor, check the water pump to make sure it has good water flow.
Take the engine cowling off and check for fuel or water leaks. If you find leaks, consult your boating mechanic.
Wipe everything down and spray with an anti-corrosive like WD 40 or Quick-lube. Be sure to lubricate all the moving parts, such as the shift, throttle cables, carburettor valves, etc.
Replace the cowling and wipe it down. Keep a canvas or plastic cover on the engine between trips. Always use fresh fuel. At the end of the season, boat motor maintenance should include draining your tanks and taking the fuel to the proper recycling authority.
- Periodically check the fuel line for cracks and worn spots.
- Make sure the fuel primer bulb is not cracked and is pliable.
- Make sure the fuel-line fittings seat properly and don’t leak.
- Check the clamps on the fuel line for rust or corrosion.
- Check the fuel tanks for damage and corrosion.
- Check the tank vent to make sure it aspirates properly.
- Check regularly for water in the fuel.