No boat owner wants to be overwhelmed by boat maintenance. But this time of year, action now can prevent wasted energy in the spring when it’s the day to put-in. We suggest looking at maintenance from three angles, which you might be able to tackle over three weekends or less.
- Clean Your Boat
- Weatherize Your Engine
- Repair Broken Parts
Clean Your Boat
This can include any number of tasks, from drying and storing towables to cleaning covers and Bimini tops. Mildew can ruin a boat’s appeal, so use a cleaner that hinders its spread, such as the 303 Fabric/Vinyl Cleaner. Pick a cleaner that’s versatile, one you can use on your fabrics, carpeting, upholstery and vinyl.
Cleaning your boat also means drying any excess water in places where it may stagnate over the idle months. Empty your bilge and use a little elbow grease to clean out any grunge. Also, consider adding a little antifreeze to the bilge to prevent freezing from water that may get in during down-time.
Weatherize Your Engine
Would you let your coveted car sit idle without attention for six to eight months? Then why subject your boat engine to such treatment? Next to the boat itself, the engine is the next most important part of your craft.
First, start by adding a proper amount of fuel stabilizer, making sure to follow the instructions that come with the brand you purchase. This will prevent condensation and deterioration of the fuel. Next, flush the engine with fresh water and circulate antifreeze. It is important to consult your owner’s manual to properly execute this step. Third, add a little lubricant in the right places. Change the oil and the oil filter. Spray the air intakes. Grease the connections to the battery, which you should fully charge. You may want to check the battery mid-winter, too.
Repair Broken Parts
Now’s a good time to fix all those pesky little problems that cropped up all season. Broken tie downs and broken snaps can be the first place to start if they affect how you will cover the boat from the elements. Now is also the time to decide if your cover is in proper shape for another year outside. Is it holey, ripped, saggy? Maybe your boat deserves better coverage this year. Savvyboater.com has a wide assortment of new covers and kits to browse if you need ideas. Many times, a repair can be executed in DIY-fashion, but if it means replacing something intricate or unusual – such as a zipper or clear vinyl – your best bet may be to start new or find a good boat repair shop.