No one wants to take their boat out for the first time of the year only to realize that the engine is locked up or water damage has occurred. Luckily, with a little bit of preventative maintenance this fall, you should be able to avoid many of the most common issues that boat owners run into during the first few weeks of spring.
Have the Boat Professionally Winterized
You might be able to carry out most maintenance tasks on your own, but winterizing your boat’s engine should usually be left to a professional mechanic. That project requires very specific tools, and you could end up doing quite a bit of damage to your vessel without even realizing it. During the winterization process, the mechanic is going to drain the engine, fog the engine cylinders, run antifreeze through the water pump, and treat the fuel system. Marine maintenance boat supplies can often be provided by the mechanic, but you’ll want to get suggestions on where to buy your own for continued boat care beyond the professional needs.
Carefully Wash the Hull and Deck
As a general rule, you should try to wash your boat every time that you pull it out of the water. If you are going to leave your boat in a boat slip this winter, then you will need to pull it out once every few weeks to wash the hull. For dry docking, the boat must only be washed once as long as it is going to be completely covered or kept in a garage. When you are washing your boat, you should only use non-abrasive cleaners that were specifically designed for watercraft.
Wax and Seal
There are quite a few reasons why you need to wax and seal your boat at the end of each season. In addition to improving its appearance, this project is also going to protect the hull from unnecessary damage. The first step in this process is removing the old wax with toluene or another dewaxing solvent. You can then apply the wax and fiberglass polish with a soft rag or buffer.
Protect the Canvas
The boat canvas itself will need to be maintained as well if you want to avoid mold and mildew. Vinyl-coated fabrics are usually completely waterproof, but they don’t breathe, and that means you must occasionally take them off for a few hours. Before you attach the boat canvas, you should thoroughly clean it off with water and let it dry out. You might also need to apply a detergent to the canvas once or twice a year.
In addition to winterizing your boat every fall, you must also make sure that you fully de-winterize it each spring. The maintenance steps that you take before you hit the water will greatly reduce your risk of a catastrophic breakdown. Like any piece of machinery, a boat requires careful care all year round to ensure the best performance, so make sure to get the appropriate marine maintenance boat supplies sooner rather than later.