Whether you’re a novice or veteran out on the open water, all boat owners should know how to take care of their vessels properly. Like a car, a boat needs regular upkeep and maintenance to operate in tip-top shape. If you neglect the care required, you may have a lot of problems on your hands. Luckily, it’s not all that difficult to do any of this. Here’s a quick guide so you can cover all your bases.
If you own a fiberglass boat, you’ll want to pay attention to the gelcoat, or the exterior finish. This layer works to protect underlying materials from moisture, sun and salt. You can maintain this with a little bit of effort — but make sure you have the right materials on hand. Otherwise, it can dissolve or stain easily.
Research a variety of waxes and polishes before you choose one. Then, you’ll know for sure which one works best for your boat. Make this a priority about twice a year.
The engine is the central part of your vessel, so you have to take care of it as best you can. There are several engine issues owners can encounter, from blown fuses to loose belts. Ultimately, how much all of this will cost depends on several variables — in some cases, you may need a total replacement.
Before you jump to any conclusions, figure out what’s wrong and consult your owner’s manual. Often, the solution you need is right there. Change your oil as required, and you won’t encounter too many problems.
Upholstery and Carpet
Today, it’s not uncommon for boats to have several seats and carpet on the interior. While a nice bonus, these additions require a bit more upkeep because they constantly endure the elements. Make sure to spray down these surfaces regularly, so they remain clean. If an area is especially dirty, rent a vacuum to suck up everything from the fabric. Then, thoroughly dry the entire space. Doing so will ensure no mildew or mold grows.
As a fisherman, you use your livewell during each trip. While this is a particularly handy compartment, it doesn’t exactly smell the best. The more you store fish and bait, the more the space is susceptible to stains and bacteria buildup.
Try to clean your livewell as often as you can. Remove the filters and spray some water on them to break apart any gunk. Choose a nontoxic cleaner for the interior of the livewell — you don’t want to harm the fish or yourself if you plan to eat what you catch.
Your boat may have exposed metal or wood, possibly on the handrails, steps or deck. While these materials are meant to endure a life at sea, they still need some maintenance. How you care for these areas of your vessel depends on how you want them to look. For a warmer tone, polish and varnish are usually necessary to combat any greying. However, all brightwork should be lightly scrubbed and cleaned to look its best.
Regular Upkeep Is Essential
A boat is an investment, and it requires continuous love and care to work properly, like anything else. Make sure you spend an adequate amount of time cleaning and maintaining your vessel. Doing so will ensure you don’t encounter any major issues unexpectedly.