Owning a boat can be a pricey adventure so finding ways to save money is a must. One of the easiest ways to keep your boat expenses down is by properly maintaining it to avoid costly repairs.
Unfortunately, so many boat owners are unaware of what boat maintenance entails and end up spending good money to either have someone do it for them or it just doesn’t get done at all. Using these 5 no-fail tips will not only help you maintain your boat, but it will save you money in the long run.
Keep it clean
The most consistent thing you can do to help maintain your boat is to keep it clean. After each ride, take a few minutes to wipe everything down. This gives you a chance to remove moisture that would otherwise begin to rot the interior of the boat.
It also gives you a chance to give the boat a once over and see if there is anything that requires further attention. This daily once-over can provide you with the clues you need to head off any future issues before they get out of hand.
Maintain the fluids
It’s really important when you are maintaining anything with a motor to check and top off the oil and transmission levels often. Sadly, the transmission fluid is something that is overlooked all too often, resulting in major repairs. Neglecting to check the oil regularly is also a good way to ruin your engine and cause you to sink with repair bills.
A good rule of thumb is to check the fluid levels before you hit the water. Not once a week, but each and every time before you take the boat out. This regular checkup will tip you off immediately to even the smallest leak.
Make sure your battery survived
If you aren’t sure that your battery was fully charged before you stored it for the winter, you’ll want to make sure to test it and give it a good cleaning. The cold weather can really do a number on your battery so if you live in an area that experiences cold temperatures during the winter, you’ll want to pay extra close attention to the condition of your battery.
A deep cycle battery is designed to be discharged at or near full capacity and then recharged, whereas most batteries need to be recharged before they have been fully discharged. Most marine batteries are designed to be discharged to 20% which means that if the battery has discharged beyond that point it will no longer be rechargeable. Deep cycle marine batteries are available and can provide a benefit depending on your boating needs.
Pro-Tip: Before you go upgrading your boat’s battery, make sure you check the manufacturers’ specifications first. Any battery that does not meet the manufacturer’s requirements will end up doing more harm than good.
Check the filter
While you are checking the fluid levels it’s a good idea to check the filter as well. This is one of those maintenance items that need to be done regularly. It doesn’t hurt to just make it part of your pre-excursion routine.
If you tend to frequent waters that are muddy, have lots of plant life, or even have trash floating around, it’s even more important to check and clean the filter as often as possible. Every time you take the boat out, you are pulling all of the debris in the water into the intake system where it finds a final resting place in the filter. A clogged filter can lead to massive engine issues, costing you money and time on the water.
Test your impeller
The water and ballast pumps on your boat have impellers that, when clogged, can put undue strain on the engine as well as the pumps themselves. Removing the lid on the pump will expose the impeller so you can see if anything is caught or if the blades have been compromised in any way. These impellers are pretty easy to replace, so should there be a problem, it’s easy to just remove the old one and replace it.
While this may sound like a lot of work, each check will only take a few minutes and then you’ll be safe to hit the water. Skipping these 5 easy steps each time you take a ride could leave you up the creek without a motor!