Just like any expensive vehicle or piece of equipment, a boat needs to be maintained if it is to stay in good condition. Many of these tips will seem like common sense to those who have owned a boat for some time, but those who are new to boat maintenance and ownership should still know them and keep them in mind.
Washing Your Boat
Like cars, boats need to be washed regularly, especially if they’re in saltwater. If you do use your boat in the ocean and don’t want salt to corrode your hull, wash it down with fresh water and soap after each outing using a soft-bristle brush with a long handle. Using marine boatwash as your soap will yield the best results, but carwash soap will do in a pinch.
Motor boats require regular oil changes at least once a year. If you use your boat often, count on changing the oil after every 100 hours of use. The process for this isn’t unlike checking and changing the oil in a car. Start your engine, let it run for five minutes, and pull out the dipstick to check the oil level. If your oil level is low use the oil extractor suction tube to pump the oil out through the dipstick tube. Replace the oil with marine-grade oil. Since boat engines work much harder than automobile engines, it is vital that you use the right oil for this job.
Checking the Propeller
Outboard and stern drive boat rely on a propeller to move through the water, and it is just as prone to damage and neglect as the rest of your boat. Before you launch your boat for the first time this season, use a deep well socket to remove the propeller and check it for any nicks or dents. Make sure that you don’t have any discarded fishing line wrapped around the propeller shaft, as this can cause some damage that you won’t be able to repair by yourself. Assuming that you have a damage-free propeller, apply a liberal amount of waterproof grease on the propeller shaft to keep it from freezing up, and firmly place the propeller back into place.