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Boat Ownership & Maintenance: Top 5 Tips

Owning a boat can be great fun. Is there anything better in life than having family and friends join you on a boat trip on a nice summer day

Unfortunately, owning a boat can cause a lot of headaches. If your boat is not maintained properly, expect lots of problems to occur. 

If you maintain your boat consistently, problems and accidents are less likely to happen. Keeping on top of the task helps to keep your boat maintained will help your boat perform to its full potential, and will extend your boat’s lifespan. If you plan on selling your boat down the line and you have not maintained it properly, the value of your boat will decrease significantly. 

If you have issues with your boat that you are not sure how to fix, speak with a professionally trained boat expert for advice. If you are in doubt about any problem on the boat don’t take it out on the water. 

  1. Tips for Storing your Boat

The season has finished and the winter months are on the horizon. During this cold time of year, most boat owners decide to put their beloved boats into storage. It may sound simple, but you’ll be amazed how many problems can happen while your boat is locked away for a long period. 

Where to Store the boat: Indoors is the number one place to store your boat for the winter. Outside can cause a lot of problems, however, if you don’t have the option use a high-quality cover. Cold weather conditions can have a major negative effect on your boat. If you store your boat indoors you will be able to manage the surrounding environment. Also, try and avoid leaving your boat in the water over the winter. Exposing your boat to winter conditions while it is in the water means the boat has a good chance of sinking. 

Here are a few tips to help you store your boat properly: 

  • Before locking up your boat for the winter, take it for one last ride! Not only will this be fun, but this is also the last time you’ll get to see your boat before you winterize it. It is a great opportunity to see if there are any cracks, electrical problems, or driving issues. 
  • Give the boat a good clean: As soon as your boat comes out of the water, it’s time to get to work. Start by removing the boat’s bilge drain plug, then scrub down the decks and hull. If you come across any grime, or other unwanted gunk, make sure you get rid of it as it can build up while your boat is in storage. Make sure to empty and clean thoroughly the cupboards and the fridge. Rodents can cause terrible damage to your boat so make sure no food has been left around.
  • Dry out the boat: After you scrub down the boat make sure the vessel is completely dry. Mildew control bags are widely available to help you fight against mildew
  • Wax: After all the above steps are complete it’s time to give your boat a wax job. Not only will it make the watercraft look good as new, but it also helps prevent rusting and corrosion. Cover the boat with a high-quality cover to help prevent dust from getting in.

The better job you do at storing the boat, the easier it will be to get your boat back on the water when the weather conditions improve!

  1. Make sure all your paperwork is in order

Make sure that your boat’s registration papers are valid. These are papers required by law to allow you to own and drive a boat.  

Check to see that the current insurance policy you hold covers you to hitch a trailer onto your vehicle with a boat. Your insurance broker will be able to clarify with you if you are covered or not.  

If you don’t have the proper paperwork required to own and drive the boat, you may be forced to pay a fine. 

  1. Trailer Tips

If you own your boat, you probably have a trailer to bring it from one location to the next, unless you store your boat in the water. Here are a few tips to help you with your trailer:

  • Make sure your vehicle can handle the boat. Ask your vehicle manufacturer to see what the Gross Vehicle Weight is. 
  • Make sure all the lights on the trailer are working properly. Lights on a trailer are vital to helping reduce the chances of an accident.
  • Check the tires: Depending on the usage, trailer tires need to be replaced every 5 to 6 years. Check the air pressure and if they need replacing, don’t take any risks and change them immediately. 
  • Examine all the lines and safety chains. These tend to wear over time and often need to be replaced if they can’t be fixed.
  • Check legalities with towing and owning a trailer in Portugal as some trailers need a separate registration plate and insurance.

 

Each time you take out your boat on a trailer, check the lights and all the wires to make sure they are all working properly. When bringing your boat into the water there are plenty of different types of boat lifts available. They are low maintenance and are available for boats, jet skis, and other watercraft. 

 

  1. Maintenance Tips

There is a lot to remember when maintaining your boat. Here is a list of the essentials:

 

  • Take good care of the drive belts: Either loosen or take out the drive belts when you put them into storage.
  • Change the oil frequently: Just like cars, to extend the lifetime of your boat regular oil changes are needed.

Other items you need to check on is the boat’s battery, power steering, and control mechanisms. 

  1. Keep the Exterior Clean

There are many reasons why it is important to keep a boat’s exterior nice and clean. Insects, rodents, sea creatures, the list goes on of how many invasive species latch on to your vessel. Keeping these unwanted guests out of your boat is vital to protect our waterways. 

Keeping the exterior of your boat clean helps protect the structure of the watercraft. Saltwater can have a devastating effect on your boat as it can cause erosion. This can lead to scratches and abrasions which will prove very costly to get fixed. 

If your hull is not clean, you can expect to pay 30% more on fuel. 

Try not to clean your boat on the water. Toxins and other chemicals used to clean boats can have a terrible effect on our environment. If you have no choice but to clean the but while in water, refrain from using toxic cleaning chemicals

Summary

As most owners know, owning a boat is not cheap. However, if you don’t maintain your boat properly, expect the resale price to drop significantly. 

Not only does a clean boat look great, but it also reduces the risks of accidents, costly repairs, sinking, or accidents while out on the water.

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