When it comes to maintaining your boat, you want to ensure you have it examined by a professional boat mechanic on a regular basis, just as you would with your car. A tune-up of the engine, professional cleaning of the hull, and other such servicing can ensure the boat is always in good condition and will mean no unnecessary wear and tear on its parts. To maintain your boat yourself between those visits, note a few simple tips and some tasks you can manage on your own to keep your boat in tiptop shape.
Checking the propeller
After every trip on the water, you should check the boat's propeller. Even small strands of seaweed that wrapped around the propeller's blades or shaft can result in drag, which then means early wear and tear of the propeller and potential overheating of the engine. You can also check for rusted or loose connectors around the propeller and should ensure these are in good repair and tightened as needed; this will reduce the risk of actually losing propeller blades while in the water. The blades may also need a sharpening to keep them spinning properly and ensure they easily slice through the water.
Check the steering linkage and cables, engine control linkage and cables, and engine mounts for potential corrosion. If these are showing signs of wear, they need to be changed out so you don't put added stress on the steering or engine. It's also good to ensure these pieces are properly lubricated. An industrial spray lubrication can be used on all metal linkages and cables, as well as mounts. Use the spray sparingly so you don't make these pieces too slick, but this lubrication can offset any potential damage from them being exposed to water and salt.
As with your car's battery, you need to ensure that your boat's battery is always fully charged and in good repair. Check the terminals for corrosion, and clean them as needed. Check the brackets for any developing rust, as this can weaken those pieces and allow the battery to come loose.
If the battery is the type that needs water, check the levels before taking the boat out, as heat can cause this water to evaporate. Check the ventilation of the battery compartment; if those vents are dirty or blocked, this can cause fumes to build up in that compartment and cause damage to the battery. Clean the vents as needed, and ensure you never block them when the boat is in use.