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Boat Maintenance Tips

9 Boat Maintenance Tips For A Safe And Comfortable Sailing Trip

There’s nothing more disappointing to a sailing trip than experiencing a mechanical issue while in the middle of the ocean. Luckily, boat owners can avoid such a situation that may bring a trip to an abrupt end with basic maintenance.  

At present, most modern boats and engines are reliable and some engine problems are usually related to the battery or fuel. To prevent any issues with your boat, here are the boat maintenance tips you can consider:

Boat Propeller Maintenance

Without your prop, you won’t be able to enjoy any kind of sailing trip. So, make sure that it’s always in good condition and if the damage is beyond repair, never hesitate to replace it with a better one.

If your engine isn’t performing properly, you may have an issue with the propeller. If maintenance doesn’t work, then you can buy a new one from GetaProp.com. There are also other resources similar to the one mentioned that you can check out. 

Perform Regular Engine Checks

Your boat’s engine requires careful maintenance, particularly before taking your boat out for an excursion. Each time you use your boat, consider having a readiness checklist and follow it religiously, this is so that your engine is ready for any journey. Check the hoses and bilge for any signs of leaks, examine the water coolant level, and ensure that the engine never runs out of fuel.

Don’t Forget About Battery Care

Before or after your sailing or fishing trip, always inspect your boat’s battery. Every boat battery must be secured in either a battery frame or box that’s firmly mounted to the boat. If the battery isn’t secured, it might bounce around as you pound the chop, which can result in abuse that may shorten its life.

When performing battery maintenance, check if your battery cables are tight on the terminals. Loose cables could be the reason your engine can’t keep the battery charged or won’t start. Vibration from normal use may cause nuts holding down the cables to loosen.

If you won’t use your boat for a few days or weeks and your boat comes with a battery switch, make sure to turn it off to disconnect the batteries from the boat systems that may drain the batteries over time. Try using a battery maintenance charger to keep your battery up to full power and prepare for your next outing. Boat batteries that are kept fully charged will last longer.

Manage Your Gel Coat Using The Right Materials

Your boat’s gel coat requires proper maintenance to continue to protect it. However, you have to note that although gel coats are strong, using the wrong cleaners may stain or dissolve them. Therefore, it’s wise to use the right boat cleaners and make sure to use them regularly.

You can get rid of most stains with buffing when your boat’s gel coat is strong. But, if it wears down, you might not be able to eliminate the stains, so protection right from the start is crucial.

Audit Your Boat’s Electrical System

Your boat’s electrical system is complicated and may have various possible failure points. While other issues may cause faulty lights, some may affect your critical electrical system. You can do a simple test by running through your major onboard system before heading out.

It can be an excellent idea to have it inspected from time to time. To check particular points by yourself, use a voltmeter. If you don’t have time, make sure to get your boat’s electrical system to get it professionally inspected.

Check Your Boat’s Oil Regularly

Another boat maintenance tip to ensure a safe and comfortable sailing trip is regularly checking your boat’s oil level. Pay attention to the oil color. Like in cars, if it’s turning dark, ensure that you change it. If it’s turning milky or moving up the dipstick, you may need to consult a professional before it turns out to be a serious concern.

Wipe Off Moisture

Always have a few towels around and don’t forget to wipe off your boat when it’s wet. Drying your boat after use is essential to prevent waterline stains. All kinds of moisture are bad for your boat if they linger for too long.

Saltwater may corrode boat components, morning dew may result in mildew growth, and scupper water may stain the hull with invisible minerals. Drying your boat can make a huge difference in preventing possible issues like hard-to-remove stains and the like.

Always Keep An Eye On The Flooring

Most cockpit floors are self-draining which makes them extra handy when cleaning. If you have snap-in, marine-grade carpeting, make sure to remove it. Food crumbs, dirt, and water may find their way underneath. Vacuum debris, shake the carpet, pressure wash, and hang it to dry for best results.

One of the most crucial tasks when it comes to boat maintenance is scrubbing the foredeck. It eliminates the dirt and stains in a few steps. It also adds value and longevity to your boat once done properly.

Store Your Boat Properly

Even if you have an insurance plan for your boat to cover the cost of your boat’s damages, proper storage is still crucial. It helps protect your boat from any weather-related damage, particularly during the winter. The point is to keep rain, ice, and snow out of your boat while allowing airflow so that mildew won’t build up. You might also like to prepare your boat for a few weeks of inactivity, so it functions well when it’s time to sail again.

In terms of storage, there are several options to choose from, and these include the following:

  • On the water – Most harbors offer boat storage in the water year-round. If you have a bigger vessel, storing your boat on the water is a practical option.
  • Outdoor – It’s a popular method of storing boats. Yet ensure that your boat has a proper cover to protect it from the elements. A perfect way to keep your boat outdoors is by hiring a professional to shrink-wrap your boat. With proper shrink-wrapping, it ensures your boat remains ventilated and covered at the same time.
  • Indoor – Storing your boat indoors is an excellent option since it protects your boat from extreme weather conditions. If you don’t have room to store your boat in your garage, consider renting storage units during the winter season. A dry-stack storage facility is also a good option. Just ensure that the covered building is secure.

Conclusion

Doing regular and detailed maintenance for your boat ensures better value and longevity. It also means that you’re practicing various elements of boating precaution and safety, not only for you and your passengers but also for other boaters as well. So, make sure to keep the above tips in mind and don’t hesitate to create your regular maintenance schedule to enjoy a safe and comfortable sailing trip always.

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