Ongoing Boat Maintenance Tips

News & Tips: Ongoing Boat Maintenance Tips

My boat sees water time from April to November. Although the bookends of its season contain a healthy chunk of maintenance, there are also plenty of regular duties I do to keep my vessel running in top shape. These chores are preventative, part of regular upkeep, and a component of a servicing schedule. The following are a few important boat check-up tasks to keep in mind throughout the season; this list is by no means exhaustive.

  • Check trailer tires air pressure, top up as needed

  • Inspect trailer tires and replace damaged ones

  • Grease wheel bearings as needed

  • Verify trailer lights are in working order every time you tow

  • Inspect all tie-downs and winch straps for wear, fixing as needed

  • Audit all trailer connections (screws, bolts, springs, etc), ensuring tight and secure

  • Treat trailer rust and repaint as needed

  • Inspect boat covers frequently, sewing up tears and replacing broken snaps

  • Check all boat screws and connections, tightening as needed — recommended areas include: floor, seats, cleats, console, rod holders, trolling motor bracket, etc

  • Check battery connections, top up levels (if required), ensure battery box is secure

  • Inspect trolling motor for wear, including wiring connections, plugs, as well as removing the prop and cleaning out tangled fishing line and weeds

  • Empty, clean and air-out storage compartments periodically, or after a soaking, to prevent mildew and mold growth

  • After rainfall raise trailer jack and drain excess water when storing a boat outdoors

  • Examine fuel lines and gas tank, replace damaged parts immediately

  • Audit and replenish low supplies for first aid kits and boat repair tool box

  • Check expiration date on products and gear (e.g., fire extinguisher, flares, etc) and replace if required

  • Survey boating gear for wear and tear; fix or replace as needed — common items to inspect include: anchor assembly, rope supplies, drift socks, paddles, life vests, boat bumpers, and so on

  • Clean sonar screens and install software updates, if available

  • Vacuum boat and wipe clean interior and exterior

  • Inspect bilge pump and remove any debris, like fishing line
  • Give main motor and steering assembly a once-over, and refer to owner's manual for tips and scheduling of maintenance, fluid top-ups, and so on