Becoming a boat owner is an incredibly exciting step in life. However, along with all of the sun-soaked sailing adventures that come with a boat, so does the nitty gritty of boat ownership, which includes caring for your new property with regular maintenance. Without the proper care and upkeep, your boat will go from prime reality to a boat in desperate need of repair in no time at all.

Caring for Your Watercraft

Most boat owners favor the warmer months of the year to take their boat out on the water. The trouble begins when the boats go from being used every weekend to every few months. When this happens, most boat owners forget to perform maintenance on their boats, leaving it to face the elements unprotected. If you’re looking for ways to better care for your boat, read on.

1. Change Your Oil Often

As with any other vehicle, your boat needs its oil changed regularly. When the oil is changed as it should be, the engine will remain in proper condition and the boat will run smoothly. The oil in a boat should be changed after 50 hours of use or every six months. If you are not available every six months, it is a good idea to hire someone to come in an take care of your boat.

2. Perform Regular Tune-Ups

All boat engines need tune-ups every now and then. Even in the most fuel-efficient engines, regular check-ups are a must. This means your boat should have regular tests run on the plug wires, spark plugs, rotor, distributor cap, and the like.

3. Fuel Injection Systems

The Fuel Injection Systems in boat engines utilize an Electronic Control Module to help maintain the engine’s operation. The ECM should be scanned every so often to ensure that it is working properly. Racor Marine fuel filters should be replace almost yearly.

4. Clean Your Boat

Your boat should be washed as frequently as any other vehicle. This is particularly true if you use your boat in saltwater. The residue from the salt will cause the engine to corrode quickly, also causing the coat of the boat to dull or discolor. With regular washes and waxing, your boat should maintain its finish, while being protected against the deleterious effects of saltwater damage.

5. Clean the Filter

Many boats are built with a sea strainer that filters out seaweed and similar debris, allowing clean water to cool the engine. This filter should be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure that the engine is always getting clean water as the boat runs.

6. Test the Propeller

The propeller can become damaged, unbalanced, caught with fishing line, or dinged. This will cause your boat to handle incorrectly and will compromise your engine’s output. If you notice some light damages on your propeller, you can take it to be repaired before considering replacing it.

7. Monitor the Gear Lube

The gear lube is the fluid found in the outdrive. Like the engine oil, it must be changed regularly as well. Once you have been cruising for 50 hours or six months have passed, it’s time to replace your gear lube.

8. Replace the Impeller

The impeller ensures that your engine receives water for cooling purposes. If you fail to replace a broken or damaged impeller, you are likely to cause irreparable damage to your boat.

9. Check the Bellows

The drive bellows often are the most unappreciated part of the boat. In order to keep your vehicle afloat, your bellows should be checked on a regular basis. Check the bellows by blocking your trailer wheels, driving in an up position, while turning your wheel towards the right. In this position, you will be able to reach under and feel the upper bellows. If you feel that the bellows are soft, this means that all of them need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

Owning a boat is more comprehensive than most people think. However, with regular maintenance and attention to detail, you will be able to enjoy cruising with your boat for a long time. If you find that it is too difficult to perform some of the required maintenance, never hesitate to reach out to a professional to take care of your boat for you.