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Boat Maintenance Basics

 

Boat Maintenance Basics

 

When most people think about owning a boat, they focus on the sunshine and pleasant days spent in quiet coves, catching that one great fish or the times spent with family tubing and waterskiing. What they don’t think about is the time spent on the bilge cleaning, oil changes, winterizing and storage. Boat maintenance can be a daunting task, but it is a necessary part of boat ownership and can actually be easy if anticipated and planned for correctly. With all of the different components to think about – from engines to electronics – the best place to start is to follow your manufacturers’ guidelines. These are designed to keep your boat running well, and make each component last longer. Keep in mind that ignoring manufacturers’ recommendations may void your warranties.

 

Washing

The first and easiest part of any maintenance routine is to wash your boat on a regular basis. If you are a saltwater boater, you need to get the salt off to prevent corrosion. This means a freshwater rinse after every trip and a scrub with a boat brush and environmentally gentle cleanser. If your boat stays in the water for long periods of time, scrubbing the waterline as well as the bottom will prevent growth and improve the longevity of your finish and overall performance.

 

Bilge Cleaning and Engine Flushing

Sometimes a small amount of water finds its way into the bilge, which should be sponged out. There are a number of bilge cleaners on the market that eliminate odors and use the natural rocking of the boat in the water to do all the work. The engine will also need a flush with fresh water, regardless of whether you are doing a saltwater or freshwater trip. While flushing the motor, check the water pump to make sure it has good water flow. This is also a good time to check the propeller for damage or debris (such as fishing line) that may have gotten wrapped around the shaft.

 

Visual Inspection

Every boat owner should visually inspect all parts, hoses, wires, clamps, and connections regularly. If you don’t currently do this, you should make it a habit. This allows you to spot any leaks or corrosion before major issues occur. You should take the engine cowlings off, wipe everything down and give contacts and exposed parts a quick spray with an anti-corrosive spray. Be sure to lubricate all the moving parts, such as the shift and throttle cables. Also, you should have sacrificial anodes to protect submerged metal parts like outboards and props from galvanic corrosion. Check each anode periodically. The zinc anodes disintegrate through normal use, and if they are smaller than two-thirds of their original size, they should be replaced. Check all fluid levels including engine oil, power steering, power trim reservoirs, and coolant.

 

Safety Equipment

A key part of a maintenance routine that is often neglected is checking safety equipment. You should look over your life jackets to ensure they are in good condition and that there are enough on board. Check flares to make sure the dates are current and make sure all fire extinguishers are the correct class for your vessel and are fully charged and stowed in the proper place.

Although it may seem like there is a lot to think about when it comes to boat maintenance, it is very easy to incorporate most of these tasks into your regular routine. Just a few minutes at the end of every day could save you costly repairs and possibly the loss of some valuable time on the water.

 

Sidebar

With a focus on customer ease of use, some manufacturers are trying to help reduce maintenance time. I’ve been impressed by my Evinrude E-TEC G2. With no required break-in period or oil changes, no scheduled dealer maintenance for five years or 500 miles, and with its unique push-button automatic winterization, it is the easiest engine to own. The E-TEC G2 also simplifies the maintenance and inspection routine by streamlining rigging, so that trim and power steering controls are encapsulated within the engine itself – this means Also, with its get up and go, and great fuel economy, my E-TEC G2 helps me get the most out of spending time on the water

Learn More Visit Evinrude.com Today!

 

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