Seasonal Maintenance for Your Boat

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A Detailed Guide to Keeping Your Boat in Tip-Top Shape

Just like any piece of property, your boat is a machine that has needs in order to function properly. When pieces of the machine start to malfunction or fail, the rest of the machines endures stress. Regular maintenance and following boating best practices can help the hardware of your boat last longer and work harder, which translates into a bigger bang for your buck. From season to season it’s important to regularly maintain your boat, especially in the slow months before the season picks up and after your boat has spent a lot of time on the water. To help you out with your seasonal boat maintenance, we’ve compiled this useful guide for you, courtesy of Boatsetter.

- Regular washes: Wash your boat regularly with soaps and cleaners that are made for boats so you don’t ruin the finish. If you run the boat in salt water be sure to flush the engine with fresh water, always! The salt water can erode the engine and cause long-term damage.

- Frequent oil changes: Change the oil on a regular basis. Whether you have a four-stroke outboard, inboard or sterndrive boat, the oil needs to be changed approximately every 100 hours. Learn about the steps for changing your oil.

- Remove debris: During high season, check the propeller and discard any tangled fishing line. If left unattended to, the fishing line can create problems that will force you to visit a mechanic… ka-ching!

- Limit harsh elements: Store your boat inside, or outside with a proper cover. Constant sun exposure can take a toll on the exterior of your vessel. If you notice something off when running the motor note the time, date and include a description of the sounds, noise or motion that caught your attention. During annual visits to the mechanic, many boat owners find these notes invaluable in locating and fixing issues in the engine, hull or other parts of the boat.

- Winterization: If you’re a boat owner you need to prepare for winter well in advance. Before winter arrives your boat will need some love and attention in order to endure the cold months ahead without enduring any major damage. Depending on the type of boat and whether it will be stored inside or outside during the winter season, preparations may include:

- Flushing the engine with non-toxic antifreeze;
- Removing any plant life or barnacles from various parts of the motor or propeller;
- Greasing all fittings;
- Waxing the hull;
- Adding stabilizer to the fuel tank;
- Draining the fresh water tank and hot water heater;
- Opening and cleaning the refrigerator and freezer;
- Removing valuables from the vessel that might be damaged in storage, as well as food; and
- Setting traps for rodents, bugs and small animals.
We recommend you check the owner’s manual to ensure the use of certain chemicals won’t harm your boat’s engine or other parts.
Hauling out is recommended once a year in order to treat the hull of your boat. While many boat owners will stretch this annual tune-up to 18 months or even two years, professionals agree that it is really just increasing the probability of problems in the future. A haul-out service will typically include:
- Checking of the fittings;
- Touching up paint, if needed; and
- Checking the running gear and ordering any malfunctioning parts, if needed;
- Most shops will check the running gear first since if parts are needed to be ordered it could extend the time your boat is in repair. Typically, haulouts can be completed within a week. The average cost is approximately $30 a foot, not including taxes or fees.

Want a Maintenance Free Boating Experience?

Boat charter maintenance is one of the downsides of ownership. If you’re looking for a hassle-free boating experience, Boatsetter is here for you. Find your perfect boat rental or boat charter online and make instant reservations. The only thing you have to do is make the reservation and show-up on-time. Boat maintenance, launching, and clean-up are all things renters don’t have to worry about – you have nothing to lose, but a lot to gain! 

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