6 Important Boat Maintenance Tips

Maintaining your boat is an important part of boat ownership. Before you perform any maintenance on your boat, be sure to check with the marina first. Some types of maintenance may not be allowed in the marina because of the risk of paint chips or spills of toxic or hazardous materials. The time that you spend maintaining your boat will help to protect the vessel from the wear and tear of everyday sailing and exposure to the elements.

Cleaning the Deck
Clean your boat’s deck on a regular basis with a coarse cloth and plain water. According to the Connecticut.gov website, this can help to prevent salt and dirt from getting stuck on the surface. If plain water does not get the deck clean, try natural cleaners such as lime juice or borax. When the deck is really dirty, try a biodegradable detergent.

Waxing the Boat
Consider waxing your boat once or twice per year. You can apply wax at the beginning of the sailing season and again at the end of the season to protect the boat while it is in the marina. According to the University of Michigan, a coating of wax helps to protect the surfaces of the boat from sticky dirt, dust and other debris.

Repainting the Hull
About every two years, the hull of your boat will need to be repainted. If you are stripping off the old paint, be sure to collect all of the paint chips and residue and properly dispose of the waste. Select a water-based paint that is identified as being non-toxic. If you have any leftover paint or you just need to repaint a small area, ask if there is a boater’s supply exchange at the marina.

Scouring Engine Parts
Before using any solvents on your boat’s engine, use a scouring pad, steel wool or a wire brush. These products eliminate the need for toxic solvents. Collect the debris and dispose of it in a designated waste container. Cleaning the engine parts makes it easier to lubricate them.

Changing the Oil
Change your boat engine’s oil according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Be sure to collect the used oil and take it to be recycled. It is also a good idea to change the oil filter at the same time as changing the oil. Old oil filters should be disposed of at a hazardous waste collection center.

Adding Anti-freeze
Anti-freeze is essential to your boat’s engine if it will be stored in an environment that may experience sub-freezing temperatures. Be sure to choose the orange colored polypropylene anti-freeze instead of the toxic blue colored ethylene glycol anti-freeze. The polypropylene anti-freeze is an effective product and does not harm marine or wildlife.

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