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In 2018, there were about 12 million registered or documented boats in the United States. If you own a boat, you likely want to know how to keep it in good shape. 

Whether you own a powerboat or a sailboat, regular boat maintenance is key to keeping your craft in good condition. With regular care, you can extend the life of your boat and enjoy it for many years to come.

Do you know how often you should perform maintenance on your boat? If you’re not sure, check out our boat care tips for the best performance.

Keep It Clean

As your boat ages, the gelcoat wears down. When it becomes more porous, the gelcoat stains easier and also becomes tougher to clean.

You can remove most gelcoat stains with boat cleaners and water. To remove mineral stains, use products with an acid or chelating agent designed to remove stains without damaging the boat’s surface.

A coat of wax can restore shine to the gelcoat.

For mold and mildew stains on the vinyl seating, you can use a specialized vinyl cleaner or OxiClean. Avoid using chlorine-based products as they can damage the vinyl. Using a protectant spray afterward protects the vinyl against both UV fading and staining.

Dry It Off

You should always wipe down your boat when it’s wet. Left alone, moisture buildup can lead to mold and mildew growth. Wiping it down after use also helps prevent waterline stains.

When not in use, a lack of air movement inside a boat can result in mold growth. Make sure to regularly check and dry outside and inside the boat even when it isn’t in use.

Change the Oil

Most manufacturers recommend changing the oil every 50 to 100 hours. Check your owner’s manual for further instructions and advice.

Even if you don’t use your boat often, you should still change the oil to keep your craft in prime condition. Old oil can change its makeup over time. This not only makes it less effective, but it can even become more acidic and cause damage.

If you’re not sure how to change the oil yourself, take your boat to a certified dealer.

Check the Engine and Battery

Performing an outboard motor maintenance or engine check ensures your boat is in running condition. Use this boating checklist for a quick inspection of the engine and battery.

  • Inspect your engine fuel line for cracks and wear
  • Check the clamps and tanks for any signs of corrosion or saltwater damage
  • Check your engine oil and cooling water levels
  • Look at your filter to make sure it’s not obstructed or dirty
  • Inspect the battery for cracks
  • Check the battery terminal connections for corrosion

Always check your battery for a charge. Between outings, use a boat battery charger to ensure your boat is fully charged and ready for your trip.

Inspect Equipment

To take boating safety seriously, you should regularly check your PFDs (personal flotation devices) and safety equipment. Make sure you have enough life jackets for all passengers and look them over for wear and tear.

It’s always a good idea to have a medical kit on board as well as visual distress signals.

Perform Regular Boat Maintenance for Better Performance

If you want your craft to run at peak performance, perform regular boat maintenance both before and after each trip. Off-season maintenance is also important to keep your boat dry.

Keep your boat in good condition and it should last you for years to come.

For more lifestyle tips like these, keep checking our blog for articles on all the topics that matter to you.

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