Best boat maintenance: Tips and tricks to avoid damage
It is mid-summer in Canada, and you may have just bought your dream boat. Ahoy there, new boat owners! Welcome aboard the fantastic world of boat ownership, where adventures on the high seas await you! Owning a boat can be an absolute blast, but it’s crucial to give it the love and care it deserves to avoid pesky and costly repairs. Being a new boat owner comes with a responsibility to maintain and protect your investment. Here are some boat maintenance tips and tricks to avoid damage.
Be Best Buds with Your Boat’s Manual: It might not be as thrilling as a treasure map, but your boat’s manual is pure gold! It’s packed with essential information on maintenance, operating procedures, and troubleshooting. Have a look through it before you head out on the water. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance, including engine checks, oil changes, and other routine servicing. Diarize your scheduled maintenance in the spring and fall. Regular maintenance will ensure your boat runs smoothly and minimizes the risk of unexpected breakdowns.
Be a Safety Sam: Prepare and carry necessary safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, first aid kits, flares, and an emergency radio, in case of unexpected situations. Follow Marine Transportation Canada’s mandatory safety requirements.
Docking and Mooring: Dock your boat carefully, making sure to approach slowly and using fenders to prevent damage to both your boat and the dock. When mooring, use appropriate lines and ensure they’re properly tied to avoid drifting or damage from waves.
Navigation: Plying the high seas without a plan is a dangerous adventure. Pay close attention to navigation charts and avoid shallow waters, submerged objects, and hazardous areas. Hitting rocks or other underwater obstacles can cause severe damage to your boat.
Give It a Rinse, Matey! After a salty escapade on the water, make sure to rinse your boat thoroughly with fresh water. This helps prevent nasty salt buildup that could corrode your precious vessel. Regular cleaning will prevent corrosion and the buildup of harmful deposits.
Bonus tip: In many places in Canada, there are boat checks for invasive species. If you pull your boat out of the water, a good rinse will help ensure you don’t have any stowaways like zebra or quagga mussels.
Sweet Dreams with Covers: When your boat isn’t having a blast, treat it to some sweet dreams with a cover. Protecting it from the elements like rain, sun, and bird droppings will keep it looking sharp and ready for action. Invest in high-quality boat covers that fit the size of your boat properly. Covers shield your boat from UV rays, rain, and dirt when it’s not in use. Good old Canadian Tire has a wide variety of affordable covers.
Proper Storage: When not in use, store your boat in a safe and secure location. If possible, keep it covered to protect it from the elements and prevent unnecessary wear and tear. You don’t want your boat under attack by Jack Sparrow, boat theft is prevalent in Canada. Check out these tips to prevent boat theft.
Battery TLC: Be sure to keep your boat’s battery charged to maintain its longevity. Charge them up regularly, check the water levels (if applicable), and keep those terminals clean for smooth sailing. Check out Alberni Power and Marine for in-depth knowledge on boat battery care.
Grease & Oil Up: Your boat’s moving parts and engine appreciate a little grease and oil to keep them humming happily. Be generous but not too generous—you don’t want your boat to feel like an oily mess! Always remember to dispose of old fluids according to your provincial guidelines.
Be a Detective: Inspect Regularly: Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and inspect your boat regularly. Look for leaks, cracks, or loose screws before they turn into bigger problems. Prevention is your secret weapon!
Float with Fresh Fuel: Your boat loves fresh fuel, so don’t leave it sitting for too long with old gas in its belly. Keep it fueled and ready to set sail whenever the call of the sea beckons.
How Low Can you Go? Regularly inspect and clean the bilge area to ensure it remains dry and free from debris, which can lead to damage over time. As the bilge is the lowest interior point of a boat, any leaking fluids will settle in the bilge.
Say No to Hibernation: Boats love to be out and about, exploring the waters. So, don’t leave yours in hibernation for too long. Regularly take it for a spin, even if it’s just a short jaunt, to keep it feeling alive and energetic.
Mind the Mildew: Mildew can sneakily hitch a ride on your boat, especially if it’s been damp and cozy. Use mildew-resistant products to keep it at bay, and your boat will thank you with a fresh-smelling deck.
Learn the ropes—literally! Master some basic knot-tying skills to secure your boat when docking or mooring. Plus, it’s a nifty skill to impress your friends and fellow sailors. Knowing your knots is an essential skill, you don’t want your boat to go adrift because of an incorrect tie-up. Check out the handy pocket guide to master knots in no time.
Get a Boat Buddy: Having a boat buddy is not only more fun but also helpful when it comes to maintenance. You can share tips, split costs on supplies, and have someone lend a hand when needed.
Remember, taking care of your boat isn’t just about avoiding repairs; it’s about ensuring your boat stays in tip-top shape for all the exciting adventures that lie ahead. With a little TLC and a sense of adventure, your boat will be your faithful companion on the watery journey of a lifetime. Bon voyage, and smooth sailing! 🚤⚓