A few hours of basic care on a regular basis can keep your boat running safely and effectively in the long run. You should still take your boat to the marina regularly for service, but you don’t need to be a professional to follow a few simple tasks that will make your time on the water more enjoyable.
Below we detail some of our top boat maintenance tips:
Make sure to keep the bottom of your boat clean and shiny. A good clean and polish on your hull will allow you to spot any small signs of damage before they become bigger problems.
Repair any damage to the gel coat above or below the waterline as quickly as possible. This will help prevent water ingress into the fiberglass laminate and core, which can lead to serious structural problems. Good tools for this are gel coat repair products that come in tubes with a hardener.
These gel coat repair products are also small enough to fit in any tool kit or locker on board. As a temporary repair, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t pretty or a perfect color match. It helps prevent water from getting into where it shouldn’t and could prevent a much bigger fix from being necessary down the road. This works as a quick repair so you can carry on enjoying the day’s boating.
You’re better off leaving the major servicing and repairs of your engine to the professionals rather than risk further problems down the line. Similar to a modern car, most major servicing and repairs for a modern 4-stroke outboard or diesel inboard will require a laptop with some expensive software.
However, there are some simple steps you can take to become more familiar with the equipment and spot potential issues before they develop further. Next time your marine mechanic is servicing your engine, see if you can watch and ask questions.
Make sure to check and top up the fluid in the hydraulic steering systems if it is starting to get low. You should also check the fluid level if you notice your steering feels clicky, when turning or soft at full lock. It should feel smooth all the way through the turn and the wheel should stop turning at full lock. Air in the hydraulic steering systems isn’t good and may require bleeding. This is a simple job with a filling kit, which is relatively inexpensive.
If your powerboat has cable steering, make sure to keep the helm end of the cable well lubricated inside the console, and do the same with the steering arm at the other end. Check to make sure that it has not been bent by mooring lines and that there are no towlines caught around it. The cable can be removed from the steering tube by using an adjustable spanner. You can then remove any dried grease with WD-40 and a rag, and then apply new grease to keep things operating smoothly.
You should routinely check the condition of your prop. Look for any sharp bits of damage and remove them with a file. Any significant damage can be repaired by a prop specialist at your marina. If you frequently take your boat into waters with lots of fishermen, make sure to check your prop shaft for signs of fishing line.
Fishing lines can end up wound in behind the prop into the gearbox shaft seal. This will allow seawater into the gearbox oil, which will cause it to emulsify and lose all its lubricating properties. Taking five minutes to remove the prop for a quick inspection can prevent you from needing to repair your gearbox internals, which can be expensive.
If you spend long periods between boating trips, give consideration to your fuel system in order to avoid problems next time you are out. Make an effort to leave tanks full to reduce any air and prevent moisture from condensation.
Interior and Electrical Equipment
The cold damp environment is the biggest cause of problems inside any boat. This can cause bad smells, mold, corrosion of vital electrical equipment, and more. Make sure to get fresh air through the inside of cabins and lockers as often as possible. It helps to invest in a decent cover that will keep out rain and moisture but still allow air to flow through it.
Wash everything down with fresh water to remove any salt, which will attract moisture and prevent things from drying out completely. Be sure to clean and lubricate any zips on covers or upholstery to remove any salt and keep them moving freely.
Don’t settle for cheap electrical fittings that may be fine at home or in an automotive environment. These will let you down in a damp, salty boat. Make sure to use sealed marine connectors and tinned cable rather than cheap connectors and basic copper wire.
Bringing Your Boat in for Maintenance
The best way to keep your boat running smoothly is with regular service at the marina.
Corleone Marinas offers premium harbour experiences across Sydney, including locations in Sydney’s most prestigious sites including Elizabeth Bay, Long Island, Balmain and Drummoyne. Each site offers a variety of options including berths, moorings, on-site slipways and shipwrights.
If you need maintenance or repairs for your vessel due to corrosion, we can help! Contact us today to learn about our full range of marina services.