Buying a boat is a major financial investment. Maintaining it throughout the life of ownership is a major time investment. And if you do the former without paying attention to the latter, you’ll compromise your investment and end up with an expensive model that isn’t very fun to use.
4 Smart Boat Maintenance Tips
In the world of boat care, there’s reactive maintenance and preventative maintenance. As the name suggests, reactive maintenance occurs after the fact. When you notice something is wrong with it, you diagnose and fix the issue. Sometimes this is the only option, but oftentimes, this sort of reactive approach to ownership can be avoided with a little preventative maintenance.
Preventative maintenance is all about addressing potential issues ahead of time, so they don’t become expensive time-intensive problems. It’s an approach to ownership by which you continually care for your boat so that it always operates in tip-top shape.
If you want to prevent premature wear and keep it in good condition, you’ll need to adopt a preventative mindset. Here are some specific steps you can take to live up to the task:
- Buy the Right Cover
According to SavvyBoater, “A boat cover is an essential part of maintaining your boat in top shape. The cover will help to protect it from rain, snow and UV rays when not in use, and from dust and road grit while being towed.”
The key to protecting your boat is to choose the right type of cover and to get it properly fitted for your specific model. While you can buy a variety of generic “one size fits all” covers, it’s highly recommended that you get a custom cover that’s based on the measurements of your boat. This will ensure a tighter fit that offers maximum protection from the elements.
2. Regularly Clean Upholstery
Just as your skin can become damaged over time by sun and weather, so can your seats. For boats with upholstery, it’s important that you clean and protects on a regular basis.
Everyone has their own preferred method of cleaning seats, but the best approach is to purchase a quality vinyl cleaner that’s designed specifically for upholstery. Typically these products are applied with a spray bottle. You then let the cleaner sit for a couple of minutes and use a soft cloth or brush to work it into the seats. Finally, a clean towel is used to remove the excess. The next step is to spray some sort of protectant, which is designed to protect upholstery from sun damage, smudges, and other forms of wear.
3. Use a Protectant
It’s important to regularly wash your hull – especially if it is exposed to harsh saltwater. After cleaning, make sure you use some type of protectant to keep it looking better for much longer.
A heavy-duty cleaner wax is ideal, though it does take some effort to apply and buff. The polymers found in the wax seal help it glisten, while simultaneously guarding against harmful UV rays. Carnauba wax is also a good option, though these products typically lack the polymers.
4. Properly Winterize
If you’re going to protect your boat, you have to invest in proper winterization. Not only will this prevent premature damage to the engine and key electrical components, but it’ll also keep the finishes looking nice.
Ideally, you should use covered storage during the winter season. But if you can’t access space like this, you can always shrink-wrap your boat to keep it protected from the elements. Before doing so, give the inside and outside thorough cleaning. Otherwise, you’ll return to a mess that requires some serious elbow grease to clean.
Treat Your Boat Like an Investment
A boat might not be an investment in the typical sense of the word, but it’s certainly something you should treat as such. Though it may not appreciate in value, it can hold its value over time. By taking care of it and investing preventative maintenance, you can avoid premature wear and maximize enjoyment. Are you willing to do what it takes?