All vehicles work better and last longer when properly maintained, and boats are no different. However, in the case of boats, poor maintenance can cause significant issues while at sea – sometimes resulting in hazardous situations that could put your life in danger.
Regularly maintaining your boat will maintain its reliability and safety, giving you peace of mind and also helping you avoid difficulties when out on open water. Maintenance also considerably reduces repair bills and lengthens the life of your craft. Moreover, routine upkeep and care work will help retain your boat’s resale value, should you wish to sell in the future.
A stitch in time saves nine
Spotting issues early is the best way to save work further down the line. The saying “A stitch in time saves nine” is particularly apt when it comes to sea craft, which are open to the elements and particularly prone to water damage.
Inspect the full length of your boat regularly to check for any leaky fittings, decking or holes in the structure of your vessel, which might allow water to seep in. Saltwater is highly corrosive because of its greater conductivity and can it can extensive damage – particularly on metals – around your boat. Plug and repair leaks and holes as quickly as possible or, ideally, identify and fix areas of weakness before a problem develops in the first place.
Also, keep your boat clean and as clear of debris or rubbish as possible. Dirt, grime or other rubbish build-ups hold moisture longer and can lead to the development of mold or areas of damp.
It’s also essential to keep your craft well-lubricated. Fiberglass boats require regular cleaning and waxing to stop the coat oxidizing and chalking. After each trip, thoroughly wash down your boat and check whether you need to reapply another wax coat. You will considerably lengthen the life of your boat if you keep it well lubricated in the water.
Flushing the engine and other minor checks
As mentioned, saltwater is highly corrosive, so you must flush the engine of your boat after every trip. Engines work differently, but you can find guides for most models by looking online for hints and tips. The majority of flushing systems are quite simple and just involve starting up the engine and letting the pumps do the rest. After every trip, you should also check the fuel line, fittings, clamps and seals for any signs of rust, cracks, leaks or worn spots. Additionally, look for water in the fuel.
Consider where you store your boat
We all know a car lasts considerably longer when kept in a garage and the same applies to boats. Leaving a boat on the sea increases its exposure to the elements and can dramatically shorten its life. Consider keeping your vessel out of the water – in a dedicated shed or other form of garage. If these are too expensive, look at buying an inexpensive portable boat storage unit to shield your craft from the elements.
Regularly maintaining your boat shouldn’t be seen as a chore and even the smallest jobs will help maintain your vessel’s performance, looks and reliability. Better still, it will give you confidence while at sea, knowing that your boat is in tip-top condition and less likely to cause you problems.