Unless you’ve owned a boat before, you may not fully understand the amount of maintenance a boat requires in order to run without worry. Whether you are at the Pineview Dam in Ogden Valley or down at Lake Powell, the jubilant boat drivers and riders you see are only able to have a good time thanks to responsible owners who take preventative steps.
The engine and body of a boat are constantly attacked by threats unseen under the water and out of the water. A combination of the sun, water, dirt, and a prolonged neglect can terrorize boat owners who look only to take advantage of the gift of good weather. To fully benefit from all that boats give to people, there are several items to attend to before you back your trailer into the water.
Motorized vehicles usually cannot be left sitting unused for an extended period of time without having performance problems. Boats are likely to be left unused longer and therefore need more attending to before getting them back out on the water.
Fuel. If you go three months without using your boat, the gasoline may grow stale from a buildup of water or dirt contamination. Check for debris or water in your fuel filters and siphon out the fuel and replace as needed.
Oil. After the winter season, oil should be checked. After 100 hours of use on a 2-stroke engine (200 hours on a 4-stroke), you will need an oil change. Also, check the power steering and power trim oil levels. Do not forget to check for any leaks before taking the boat out as well.
Battery. Charge the battery during seasons of no use to keep it alive and well while it sits in storage. (More battery information in the next section).
As you and your boat glide safely atop the surface of the water, that doesn’t mean the boat is also entirely protected. The side-effects from water on a boat are plentiful.
Corrosion. Utah being a landlocked state, you may never take your boat out in saltwater, but a boat is not immune from freshwater corrosion. You will need to check your motor, battery, cables, and screws for corrosion and keep them as clean as possible to ensure safe use. Even if a screw is worn down, be sure to find a replacement.
Electrical. Damaged pieces and loose parts often lead to water leaking into the many different electrical systems found within the boat. Be sure to make sure all parts are cleaned and sealed tightly. After doing so, frequently use WD40 (WD-”water deterrent”) or other recommended water-repellent spray to layer across the engine and other areas that need treatment.
Hull. Shallow waters and poor trailer use can create harmful dings and dents to the hull (the underside of the boat). The blemishes lead to flooding, which can sink boats or cause major electrical problems. Check to see that there are no holes on the hull.
Other Potential Issues
It is important to also be aware of a few other separate problems that others often run into.
Propeller. It is not uncommon for the propeller to take in a fishing line or other objects that get wrapped up inside. Remove the propeller nut with a deep socket in order to clear out the inside. Also, tighten the nut to keep the propeller securely on.
Sun. Though the boat is out in the sun all day at times, if a boat sits in the sun unprotected, the UV rays can cause extreme damage to the seats, floor, and other outer linings of the boat. Not only will the boat look worn, it can act as an entryway for water and dirt to damage the engine and electrical parts. If you cannot keep the boat sheltered in a garage or shed, you will need to get a cover.
Grime. The dirt carried in the air off of the land, or in the water, and on rider’s clothes and shoes also need to be given proper attending to. After each use, a boat benefits from a full cleaning.
Once you have ensured that the boat is ready for use, it is also important to remember the trailer that carries it. You will want to make sure the wheels and wheel bearings are in good condition. After you check everything off the list, then you will be ready to go!
Last of all, don’t forget that you, yourself, also needs proper care and maintenance. If you confront any boating related harm, you should contact a personal injury attorney to make sure you are taken care of. This way you will have full maintenance coverage.