Remember that old saying mentioned at the beginning of this guide? A boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into. Neglect your boat’s maintenance and you’ll soon find out how true that saying can be. Leave a boat alone for even a week or two, if it’s in the water, and it can quickly degrade. Leave a boat out of the water too long, and other problems can develop before you can blink. Minor maintenance issues briefly ignored can turn quickly into major repair issues. The smart boat owner pays constant attention to maintenance.
Boats, particularly when they are in the water, develop problems very quickly: battery connections corrode; cables loosen; seals develop leaks.
Your first defense against this deterioration is to follow faithfully the maintenance procedures outlined in the owner’s manuals for the boat, engine and other important accessories. If you’ve lost the manual (or it didn’t come with a used boat), you can usually find these instructions on the manufacturers’ websites or order manuals from online marine bookstores or technical service companies.
Additional information from websites such as the following will also help you develop a smart maintenance plan.
- Maintenance, Repairs, and Troubleshooting
Articles on varied maintenance topics by marine surveyor David Pascoe. Most for power boats.
- Boat Maintenance
This page at discoverboating.com contains useful tips and links to articles.
Winterizing your boat
Ignore your boat in the fall, and you’ll pay a hefty financial penalty in the spring. What should you winterize? Where can you get good tips on preventive maintenance for cold climates?
- Two TechTips from Bill Casey on boatus.com: Winterizing Your Engine and Fall Lay Up. Both articles discuss how to prepare your boat for winter storage in freezing weather.
- Winterize Your Boat from discoverboating.com.
- Winterizing Your Boat from boatsafe.com.
Preparing your boat for summer use
Here are checklists for preparing your boat for relaunch.
- Preparing Your Boat for the Season: Pre-Season Checklist from boatsafe.com.
- Spring Start-up Checklist from discoverboating.com
- Spring Commissioning Checklist by Capt. Ken Kreisler from Power & Motoryacht Magazine.
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