Storage and Maintenance
If you want your boat to retain maximum value, continue looking well-presented and remain safe to use, you’ll need to think about the best way to store, transport and maintain it.
Browse the following pages for information about how to move your boat from place to place, keep it protected from the elements, and store it safely.
Boat Transport and Delivery
Establish the best way to get your boat from where you bought it to where you’ll store it, and plan how you’ll move it around in future. Obtain information about all the options available for boat storage – from marinas to moorings to your own backyard. Boats that can be transported by trailer are widely regarded as the easiest to move, but that’s only if you know how to tow and maneuver a trailer safely!
Maintaining Your Boat
Just like cars, boats require regular maintenance to keep them in good running order. Find out what you’ll need to do to maintain your boat, and how often you’ll need to do it. Not only will proper boat maintenance extend the life of your boat and reduce the need for costly repairs, it also helps ensure boating safety for all those aboard. Here are a few simple ways to keep your boat “ship-shape”.
Here’s a link to the Environmental Protection Authority’s information on how to use antifouling paints safely and the rules around their use. These help to protect people and the environment from these hazardous substances. Safely using antifouling paints web page
Cleaning and Care
One of the key actions for good boat maintenance is also one of the simplest: wash your boat regularly. Not only does routine cleaning facilitate a more pleasant and organised environment, it also goes a long way towards counteracting the long-term effects of environmental wear and tear. Routine waxing and use of antifouling paint can also help protect your boat from the elements.
One of the most common ways a boat can start to show scratches and damage is from careless or improper mooring and docking. Make sure lines are securely fastened in place, neatly coiled, and do not show signs of breakage or wear.
Depending on the type of battery your boat uses, check to ensure that it is properly charged and that it has the correct fluid levels. Also be sure to keep your battery clean, as dampness and dirt can drain your battery.
Proper boat maintenance means being actively involved in, and attuned to, all aspects of your vessel. This means keeping an eye out for everything from loose fittings to fraying ropes to any other areas of your boat that may need special attention or replacement.
Boat Motor Maintenance
Be sure to flush your engine after every outing, and check everything from your fuel tanks to clamps on your fuel line for rust, damage or corrosion. Also be sure to check your oil for correct levels as well as proper filtration and cleanliness. Last but not least, keep an eye on your engine’s cooling system to make sure it’s functioning correctly.
Another crucial aspect of boat maintenance is ensuring that your bilge pump is functioning properly. There’s not much that can cause more irreparable damage to a boat than having it sink. In the event that you need to use your pump, you’ll need to make sure that your battery system contains enough power to support running the pump for a prolonged period of time.
Many boating failures occur as a result of corroded electrical systems, so keeping electrical components dry should be a regular part of your boat maintenance routine. Electrical fittings can be protected with a water repellent, non-conductive grease or corrosion inhibitor.
Consider a Boat Cover
Making an investment in a boat cover can help keep your boat clean and free of a variety of contaminants that aren’t just related to dirt or water – falling leaves and bird droppings can cause a lot of damage if left unchecked. A boat cover can also prevent UV rays from breaking down hoses or fading carpets and upholstery.
Check your safety equipment regularly
Make sure safety items are in place and ready to go. Ensure your inflatable lifejackets have been inspected, flares and fire extinguishers are current and accessible, and the first aid kit is full.
Stay in the know
Last but not least, responsible boat maintenance means taking the time to familiarise yourself with all aspects of boat care. Consult your owner’s manual for in-depth guidelines. If you’re new to boating, your boat dealer may be able to help, or alternatively you can check out a Coastguard boating course. And while it’s always important to take the time to learn how to do things yourself, don’t be afraid to seek the help of a professional when needed.
Outboard Motor Care
It’s easy to keep your outboard in tip-top shape, even if you’re not a mechanic. A little TLC and preventative boat motor maintenance will keep your motor running reliable for years to come.
After every outing, flush out the engine. This doesn’t just apply to salt water adventures, but to fresh water outings as well. Here’s how to do it:
- Buy a set of ‘rabbit ears’: two flexible rubber seals connected with a metal clamp. Slip the apparatus onto the lower unit where the water is picked up and attach a garden hose.
- Start up the engine and let the water pump do the rest. (Practice safe boating and remember to stay clear of the prop and make sure no one tries to shift the motor into gear.)
- While you’re flushing the motor, check the water pump to make sure it has good water flow. Carefully put your finger through the stream of water. It may be warm, but it shouldn’t be hot. If the output is not strong, you may have some debris stuck in the outflow tube. Immediately shut down the engine to prevent overheating and damage.
- Insert a small piece of wire into the flow tube and work it back and forth. Start the engine again and check the output. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may need a new water pump.
- After flushing the engine, disconnect the fuel line and allow the engine to burn all the fuel in the carburettor.
- Once you’ve finished the flushing and run the engine out of fuel, be sure to turn off the key and, if you have a battery switch, turn it off.
- Take the engine cowling off and check for fuel or water leaks. If you find leaks, consult a boating mechanic.
- Wipe everything down and spray with an anti-corrosive. Be sure to lubricate all the moving parts such as the shift and throttle cables, carburettor valves, etc.
- Replace the cowling and wipe it down. Keep a canvas or plastic cover on the engine between trips.
- Always use fresh fuel. At the end of the season, boat motor maintenance should include draining your tanks and taking the fuel to the proper recycling authority.
- Periodically check the fuel line for cracks and worn spots.
- Make sure the fuel primer bulb is not cracked and is pliable.
- Make sure the fuel-line fittings seat properly and don’t leak.
- Check the clamps on the fuel line for rust or corrosion.
- Check the fuel tanks for damage and corrosion.
- Check the tank vent to make sure it aspirates properly.
- Check regularly for water in the fuel
Once a year, it pays to carry out a comprehensive maintenance and safety check, and replace or repair any parts of the boat requiring attention.