The summer is in full swing and you know what that means? That’s right – it is the perfect time to pull the tarp off your boat and set sails toward the horizon. Honestly, we can’t imagine any better way of spending your summer vacation. But, there is one thing to tackle before you are finally ready to start riding waves.
We are, of course, talking about thorough maintenance. The boats are vehicles that spend a good portion of the year idling. If you want to make your summer adventures safe and fun, you need to show them some love before they are ready to go. So, let’s take a quick look at some of the maintenance essentials for this season.
Tuning up the engine
The engine is the heart of your boat, so it makes a logical place to start your facelift. But, what to do first? We would say – check the oil level. There is a high chance that you forgot to resupply the engine the last time you sailed. Also, be sure to change the liquid after every 50 to 100 running hours. The other things you should put on your checklist are:
- Check for oil and fuel leaks
- Flush the engine to prevent the buildup of sea salt and corrosion
- Check fuel lines and clamps for the signs of corrosion
- Make sure that the water intake is free of debris
- Inspect hoses and lines for the signs of wear
- Lubricate all moving parts
- Make sure that mount screw clamps are tight
Inspect the propeller
Now that you have finished the works regarding the engine, it is time to move on to another crucial boat part – the propeller. You don’t want to hit the throttle only to hear the boar screaming because something got stuck. So, be sure to tackle the following duties:
- Inspect the propeller for extensive buildup and fish line debris.
- Grease the moving parts and do not skimp on the lubricants.
- Check the propeller for bent blades, nicks, and dings. If you notice any sign of mechanical malfunction, be sure to consult your mechanic.
All these things won’t only make your boat safer – they will have a positive impact on the fuel economy as well.
Take care of the hull
This is yet another duty where you will need to ask for professional help. You see, most of the fiberglass boats out there feature a thin gel coat finish that keeps the hull safe from sun, salt, debris, and all other harmful things you will encounter during sailing. So, it is in your best interest to keep this protective layer in top shape.
Fortunately, any experienced repair shop can provide your vessel with a professional gel coat restoration treatment and put this issue to rest. All you have to do from that point on is to keep the hull clean and apply a coat of wax twice a year (preferably in spring and winter).
Check the battery and electrical lines
We don’t really have to underline how important it is to keep your battery healthy and charged – without it, your boat is as good as dead. So, keep in mind that batteries have a nasty habit of degrading over time (especially when idling) and check the charge before sailing away. Repeat this procedure every couple of weeks during the summer season. A regular digital multimeter will serve this purpose just fine.
Also, you need to make sure that the connectors and electrical lines are rust-free to allow seamless power distribution. The good news is that this problem can be easily solved with nothing more than a toothbrush and some baking soda.
Clean the canvas and upholstery
By canvas, we refer to all the fabrics you can find in the cockpit as well as covers and other similar boat parts. Upholstery? You get the idea. If these materials are not properly maintained, they will pick up a lot of dirt, which, in turn, promotes the growth of mildew and growth. Once these pests are allowed to spread, you will probably need to replace the fabrics. So, cut this pest problem in the root.
Get yourself a brush, water, and mild soap and gently clean all these surfaces and be sure to remove all stains. If the canvas features see-through panels, be sure to use PVC specialty cleaners – ammonia-based products may damage this material.
So there you have it – five tips for keeping your boat safe and clean during the summer sailing season. Setting off to the horizon is probably one of the best and most fulfilling things you can do this year. But, you need to make sure that your vessel will be able to finish the journey. Now, you have some basic maintenance steps to get you started.
Lilly Miller is a Sydney-based graphic designer and a passionate writer. Loves everything about home decor, art history and baking. Shares home with two loving dogs and a gecko named Rodney.